With cities and states across the United States emphasizing clean, renewable energy, some are creating action plans that lay out a clear shift to more sustainable operations. The latest to come forward with a climate action plan is New Bedford, one of few municipalities in Massachusetts that have an established vision for reducing carbon emissions and relying on clean energy. As part of the climate action plan, the Town of New Bedford hopes to implement community solar programs to both serve the community and the municipality.
Though New Bedford had put its focus on offshore wind generation, the town has realized the need to shift to solar energy. According to Mayor Jon Mitchell, the town is a leader in both industries, and the drive for community solar programs will help the town continue to pioneer solar programs in Southeastern Massachusetts.
The climate action plan was instituted as part of the city’s goals to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. As many states across the nation like New York have determined, community solar is an efficient means of achieving such a goal. Not only does it reduce the production of carbon, community solar provides homeowners, tenants, and small businesses cost-saving opportunities to participate in sustainable power.
Unlike traditional solar, community solar subscribers don’t need to pay upfront costs to install expensive panels. Nor are they responsible for maintenance. By subscribing to community solar programs, participants are eligible for a credit toward their utility bills. New Bedford’s climate action plan will directly impact the local community and municipality while also bringing jobs to the region.
Along with community solar, the climate action plan includes calls for energy and water use reduction, an increased presence of electric vehicles, and composting. Though community solar will play an integral role in reducing emissions, the plan notes that transportation makes up just over 31% of the total emissions, with Built Environment contributing the most at 57.5%.