Massachusetts announces regulations for solar incentive program
- The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has rolled out regulations governing a new solar incentive program that aims to develop 1,600 MW of new solar capacity, though final approval is still down the road.
- In March, state officials said they would extend the state's Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC 2) program until it develops and finalizes a long-term replacement.
- The Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program seeks the addition of community solar projects. But advocates say the state's net metering limits must be lifted to allow solar resources to continue growing while the regulations are finalized.
Massachusetts has introduced regulations to govern a new community solar program in the state, but those likely will not be finalized until next year. Solar advocates say that means lawmakers must take interim steps to protect the state's momentum on renewable energy and green jobs.
"For solar’s economic engine to continue running, the Massachusetts State Legislature must raise the state’s net energy metering caps before the year is up to allow continued solar market growth until SMART is fully implemented," Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, said in a statement.
SEIA noted that Massachusetts lawmakers have proposed the measures needed to expand the net metering program, but those bills are still pending. The SREC 2 program is currently accepting projects under a "good cause" extension.
MassSolar co-founder and president Mark Sandeen said the overall framework of the SMART program "is well considered," but said some changes could make the industry more confident in its long-term success.
"We’d be much more confident in its long term success if it included a requirement to evaluate program performance early and often with an ability to adjust the program in response to market forces, if the SMART program is not meeting its goals," said Sandeen.
Worcester Business Online reports that DOER intends to provide details on the next step in the rulemaking, including details on public hearings and comment deadlines, in the coming weeks.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly said the SREC 2 program is closed for new projects. It is actually accepting new projects under a "good cause" extension.
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