NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Hampshire Council of Government is kicking off the state’s first Solar Thermal Challenge campaign.

According to a release sent to 22News, the HCG was awarded a $141,875 grant to fund three rounds of regional solar thermal outreach campaigns. The pilot program is expected to run from fall 2017 into 2018.

The towns of Amherst, Conway, Granby, Williamsburg, Goshen, Plainfield, Ashfield, Buckland, Hatfield, and Pelham have been the first to be invited to participate in the program. It is designed to accelerate the adoption of small-scale solar hot water systems.

HGC says in the news release that the adoption of such solar systems would allow residents to save money while reducing their carbon footprint.

“We don’t have access to cheap natural gas,” Director of Hampshire Power Sinead Coleman told 22News. “So a lot of folks have to use really expensive oil, propane or electricity.”

The HCG will be holding their second workshop at their headquarters on Main Street November 6th.