The Massachusetts House recently passed a comprehensive renewable thermal energy bill that will promote the use of clean renewable fuels and technologies for heating and cooling buildings. The Senate had already passed the bill so now it goes to Gov. Deval Patrick for his signature and should go into effect on January 1.

The new bill provides financial incentives for several heating and cooling alternatives. These include geothermal and air-source heating pumps, solar heating, and bio-fuels like wood pellets, wood chips, renewable bio-oils, or renewable natural gas.

Many people in the business community see this as good news, especially for renewable heating and cooling technologies that will now qualify for alternative energy credits under the state's existing Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (APS). The APS was established in 2009 to reward businesses and homeowners for installing eligible alternative energy systems.

If you are interested in learning more about solar heating, check with Acushnet Alternative Heating, located at 127 South Main St. in Acushnet. You may also reach them by phone at (774) 202-6666.