The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is establishing a new solar incentive referred to as the SMART program (Solar Massachusetts Renewable Energy Target). Sponsored by major utilities in the area, SMART is designed to support 1,600 megawatts of new solar capacity in efforts to become of the most energy-efficient states in the nation.
According to the Senior Director of state affairs David Gahl, “DOER’s final SMART regulations expand the solar incentive program and provide much needed certainty for consumers and businesses looking to lower their electricity bills with on-site solar projects. This support will help solar companies that have been hard hit by COVID-19 and will protect many community solar projects that were in development prior to the issuance f the new land restrictions.”
Now available to solar projects of all sizes (up to 5 megawatts), MA homeowners that are customers of Eversource, National Grid and Unitil are paid a fixed rate per kilowatt-hour of solar energy produced from a residential rooftop or ground mount system over 10 years.
In addition to continuing a COVID-19 extension for new incentive applications, the DOER also modified what they call the “Statement of Qualification Reservation Period Guideline” and has done the following:
- Elimination of requirements that projects, while pending interconnection authorization, have to submit a claim within 10 days of receiving the approval to interconnect.
- Allowed eligible Public Entity Off-take Adder Solar Tariff Generation Units an 18-month reservation period.
- Projects considered “Community Shared Solar” that do not submit a claim with the CSS Adder will have the base compensation rate decreased to the value in the lowest available capacity block while not being at risk of losing their Statement of Qualification.
- Established a process where the DOER will queue project applications if there is an influx of submitted applications following the issuance of ISAs upon the completion of an ASO study.
The “block” structure of the program determines the incentive you will receive. The more homeowners and business owners that install solar, the faster a 200-megwatt “block” will fill up. For example, systems under 25 kilowatts will receive somewhere between $0.29 – $0.31 cents per kWh, depending on the utility. The full list of incentives per utility and system size can be reviewed here.
Homeowners in Massachusetts are encouraged to see how the Suntuity Solar Team can help transition them to more affordable electricity here.