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Milford Daily News: Franklin company receives $161K solar panel rebate

April 15, 2010

April 15, 2010
By Ashley Studley, Milford Daily News

With the help from the state, one Franklin business is seeing green.

Rep. James Vallee, D-Franklin, and Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, announced Tuesday Franklin’s Barrett Distribution will receive $161,720 to help pay for the installation of solar panels.

“I think the companies that are looking at these types of projects are going to be more competitive in the market,” said Arthur Barrett, president of the family-owned company.

Barrett said this summer, his company, a public warehouse for clients like Best Buy and General Mills, will put 80,000 square feet of solar panels on the 15 Freedom Way facility’s rooftop – about 25 percent or two acres of the total roof.

He found out a few weeks ago the Commonwealth Solar Stimulus Rebate Program had accepted his application for the rebate, which will help alleviate some of the $1 million cost.

“This is a huge step. We’ve done a lot of other small things for the environment, like converting from paper towels to hand dryers in the (bathrooms), and converting from Styrofoam peanuts to shredded paper for all our packing material,” he said.

Vallee said its good to help environmentally conscious people do something concrete to help.

“I think people generally want to help the environment, and want to do something measurable to reduce the reliance on foreign oil,” he said. “I think the question is whether or not they can afford to do it.”

The stimulus program is geared to encourage photovoltaic (solar energy) projects for professionals and licensed contractors at commercial, industrial, institutional and public facilities.

The program is part of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, which received $8 million in stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to be partly distributed through the rebate program.

Vallee said grants like this contribute to job growth.

“It’s a growing industry, (grants) create jobs in that area,” Vallee said. “… I think, most importantly, hopefully and collectively, it allows businesses to reinvest their capital.”

Spilka agreed.

“There are still jobs in the clean energy field, it’s been a silver lining in our economy here in Franklin,” she said. “I’m thrilled Franklin’s Barrett Distribution was able to capture some of those rebates. I think it’s something that could be heralded, and it’s great for the company and MetroWest.”

Barrett said it’s well worth it to look into such a program.

“I think there’s a payback – a fairly compelling payback, so it’s not only good for the environment, but it’s good for the company,” he said.

Ashley Studley can be reached at 508-634-7556 or astudley@cnc.com.

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