- State officials this week outlined a new program for subsidizing solar projects, the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART), which aims to develop 1.6 GW of new solar energy projects.
- The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) also said it would extend the state's Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC 2) program further into 2017 as the new structure is debated.
- The (Mass.) Republican reports the new solar incentive plan is expected to cut costs to ratepayers in half, dropping installation expenses from $500 million to $250 million.
Solar advocates praised the state's efforts to expand on its clean energy successes, launching a plan to double the solar developed while also reducing costs to consumers.
Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association, called the SREC 2 expansion a "much-needed bridge between the end of the current solar incentive program and the beginning of the new one."
The decision, he said in a statement, would allow new solar projects to move forward, create jobs and maintain investment dollars.
“Over the years, Massachusetts has done a marvelous job encouraging an emerging solar industry," said Bill Stillinger, president of the Solar Energy Business Association of New England. "An SREC extension will avoid disruption and we look forward to working on our state’s progress toward a clean energy future.”
Under the SMART incentive program unveiled by the DOER, a 1,600-MW cap would remain in place, but the new program would replace SRECs with tariffs designed to reduce risk and provide for more predictable revenue streams for solar developers. Tariffs would apply to all electric distribution companies and would step down in 5% increments. Larger projects would get lower tariffs, structured on up to eight 200-MW blocks.