Pittsfield- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) and State Representative Daniel E. Bosley (D-North Adams) are happy to announce that Williamstown’s Caretaker’s Farm has been selected to receive rebates through the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s Renewable Energy Trust for solar system installations.
“We all have a responsibility to find ways of incorporating renewable, sustainable practices,” said Downing. “I applaud Caretaker’s Farm for stepping up to find their role in fighting climate change. This is a huge step for sustainable agriculture.”
Caretaker’s Farm is a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm that grows produce to support 250 families and the Berkshire Food Project each year. Though the Renewable Energy Trust,Caretaker’s Farm will receive a $34,650 rebate for the installation of a 9.90kW photovoltaic (PV) system, representing roughly one-third of total project cost. The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources will be providing an additional $30,000 though their Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program. Farm owners Don Zasada and Bridget Spann are financing the remaining project costs. Once complete, the 9.90kW PV system will generate approximately 90% of the farm’s electricity needs.
Farm co-owner Bridget Spann said, “At Caretaker’s Farm we utilize sustainable agriculture practices on the land. Now we are delighted to take this next step of relying on clean renewable energy for the farm’s electricity. As we learn more about the rapid and alarming changed in our climate, we are encouraged that with the support of this grant money, we will be able to address global warming by reducing our farm’s carbon footprint.”
Representative Bosley said, “When we passed the electricity restructuring act in 1997, the renewable energy trust fund was, in my mind, one of the most important aspects of the bill. Small scale renewable energy projects are good for communities on so many levels: they save small businesses money, they create jobs, and perhaps most importantly, they are environmentally friendly. The project at Caretaker’s Farm reinforces the importance of what was set up in 1997. I congratulate Don Zasada (owner of Caretaker Farm) and his team on a job well done and look forward to similar projects in the future.”
The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, as administrator of the Renewable Energy Trust Fund, supports projects that embrace clean energy technology and sustainable practices though a variety of programs including the Small Renewables Initiative (SRI). Through 2010, SRI disburses approximately $3.6 million in rebates each year for PV panels, wind turbines and microhydroelectric systems (up to 10 kilowatts) located at residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and public facilities. Rebate awards may be used to facilitate the installation of solar panels, wind and small hydro renewable energy projects.
How-To-Guides are available online for prospective applicants interested in renewable energy rebates through MTC’s Renewable Energy Trust Fund at www.mtpc.org/renewableenergy. Applicants and project sites must be customers of a Massachusetts investor-owned electric distribution utility.