REVERE, Mass. – Citizens Energy Chairman Joseph P. Kennedy II today launched JOE-4-SUN, a major Low-Income Community Shared Solar energy program, at the Revere home of the program’s first subscriber.
The former Massachusetts Congressman was joined by House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who represents Revere and guided the creation of the state’s Low-Income Community Shared Solar access initiative through the legislature; and by Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo, whose city is buying half the power from two of Citizens Energy’s ground-mounted, utility-scale solar arrays.
The announcement was held at the home of Nancy DiGaetano, a grandmother raising two children at home, including her grandniece, and who gets by on Social Security Disability after undergoing a series of major surgeries. JOE-4-SUN allows renters like Nancy to benefit from solar energy without having to install rooftop solar panels or own her own home.
As a participant in the state’s SMART (Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target) initiative, Citizens Energy is building five solar arrays on capped landfills across the state – in Bridgewater, Ayer, Springfield, Spencer and Ashland. The 16 megawatts of electricity generated from the five projects produce bill credits sold at a discount to subscribers in the JOE-4-SUN program, which is the largest Low-Income Community Shared Solar initiative in Massachusetts.
Half the credits are sold to commercial and municipal off-takers, like the City of Revere, at a steep discount, saving the city $500,000 over the life of the project. The other half of the credits are being provided at a 50% discount to about 1,750 low-income households, who will receive guaranteed electricity savings of about $300 a year.
Under a separate 20-year, virtual net-metering contract signed several years ago, the City of Revere is saving $4 million on its electricity costs through a 6-megawatt Citizens Energy solar farm in Amesbury, Mass.
“We are proud to work with elected leaders like Speaker DeLeo and Mayor Arrigo to bring the promise of the renewable energy revolution to those in need,” said Kennedy, an ardent proponent of efforts to fight climate change. “There are too many people in Washington that don’t even think that global warming is real. They are climate change deniers. But it’s no joke when the temperature rises to over 100 degrees. People suffer and people die. And we can do something about that by using renewable power to reduce our carbon footprint. At the same time, we can make this new technology available to those in need by lowering their electric costs.”
“Massachusetts is a national leader in championing clean energy technologies that cut carbon emissions, address climate change and provide long-term cost savings,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo. “I’m glad the residents of Revere can take advantage of this resource and transition to a clean energy future.”
“The City of Revere is proud to continue our partnership with Citizens Energy in an effort that will assist low-income Revere households to meet their energy needs and, at the same time, produce environmental benefit through the proven reliability of solar-generated electricity,” said Mayor Arrigo. “Few programs can provide such multi-faceted advantages to the public good. The City of Revere has already benefited from our partnership with Citizens Energy under a previous solar contract that will save us some $4 million in electricity expenses over the life of the project. We welcome this latest agreement, which will not only add to the savings but directly benefit low-income households. The work of Citizens Energy continues to have a positive effect on residents and the environment, and the City of Revere looks forward to playing an important role as these programs expand in the years to come.”
In order to be eligible for JOE-4-SUN, renters or homeowners must be R-2 discount customers in the National Grid or Eversource service territories. They will continue to receive their R-2 discount on top of the savings from JOE-4-SUN. Citizens Energy will enroll households in the JOE-4-SUN program for at least 12 months. The program is then offered to other households in order to deliver over $10 million in savings to 35,000 households.
“My electric and gas bills are outrageous,” said Nancy DiGaetano. “When I got the call from Citizens Energy about saving money on my electricity bill, I felt very optimistic. I hope my neighbors will also join so we can all benefit from JOE-4-SUN.”
Households interested in subscribing to JOE-4-SUN must apply on-line by visiting the Citizens Energy website at www.citizensenergy.com/joe4sun. If questions arise not answered on the website, they can call the toll-free number 855-JOE-4-SUN (855-563-4786) or send an email to JOE4SUN@citizensenergy.com for further information.
Over the course of its 40-year-history, Citizens Energy has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars in energy savings and benefits to millions of households across the country. Under its unique model, the non-profit energy company uses profits from successful businesses to finance innovative charitable programs.
JOE-4-SUN is the latest initiative to build on that history, which includes programs to provide heating oil and natural gas assistance to those in need; support the winter heating needs of homeless shelters; and to run social programs in countries where the company does business, like solar arrays and biogas generation systems in Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Venezuela and health and education initiatives in Angola and Nigeria.
Over the last ten years, Citizens Energy has become a major developer of ground-mounted, utility-scale solar arrays, building over 30 solar farms in five states. The company is also building battery storage systems, microgrids and high-voltage transmission lines to connect renewable energy sources to the grid.