September 27, 2018 Read More →

Massachusetts moves ahead with 1,600MW PV incentive plan

MASS Live:

State officials today announced the imminent launch of SMART — a long-awaited solar incentive program designed to add 1,600 megawatts of photovoltaic capacity to the Massachusetts energy portfolio.

Following two years of planning and negotiation, the Department of Public Utilities on Wednesday approved provisions of the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target. The DPU order came days after a coalition of solar groups wrote to state energy officials urging that SMART, which was supposed to be launched over the summer, be implemented as soon as possible to maintain investor confidence in the industry.

SMART features a flat tariff paid by investor-owned utilities to owners of solar arrays smaller than 5 megawatts, with added incentives for projects that meet certain policy goals. Commercial, industrial, and residential installations can qualify.

“This is the most stable and predictable solar policy in the country,” said Patrick Woodcock, the state’s assistant energy secretary. SMART will replace solar renewable energy credits, or SRECs. The SRECs can be volatile because they are traded on an open market, said Woodcock. Projects that already generate SRECs will get to keep doing so for the 10-year life of the certificates.

SMART contains an incentive for solar projects paired with storage. The technology, often in the form of batteries, helps renewable energy participate in wholesale power markets. Storage also helps utilities meet “peak demand” with low-emission sources. SMART also favors projects built on less-than-pristine sites — creating a disincentive for solar farms planned on clean agricultural or forest land.

Massachusetts now has around 2,200 megawatts of solar capacity. Adding another 1,600 megawatts will push solar to around ten percent of the state’s annual electricity needs, according to the administration.

More: State finally launches new solar incentive known as SMART

Comments are closed.