Massachusetts Bill SB 2395, “Relative to Competitively Priced Electricity in the Commonwealth,” was signed into law on August 3, 2012 by Governor Deval Patrick. The new legislation clarifies some issues related to meeting the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal of 22.1% by 2020. Its purpose is to further bolster the existing RPS goals by: 1) increasing the net metering cap; 2) expanding requirements for the EDC long-term contract program and 3) limits entities from owning more than 25 MW of solar. *Please see note below. While this legislation does not explicitly impact the solar carve out portion of the Massachusetts RPS, it does impact net metering policy in MA, a key facet of solar project development. By raising the net metering cap, there is now more room for the development of solar projects at any scale. If development continues to exceed the yearly capacity goals set aside by the DOER, then SREC prices should remain suppressed relative to the SACP.
The legislation doubles the net metering cap to 6%, with 3% allocated for public and private projects each. As Massachusetts was already close to the 3% net metering cap, the bill was essential to ensure renewable energy project development of all types throughout the rest of the year. In addition to the increase in the cap, the bill also states that Class I facilities that are less than 10 kW (single-phase) and <25 kW (3-phase) in capacity will be exempt from the net metering cap altogether. The <10 kW/ 25 kW Class I REC exemption ensures that developers of residential and small commercial facilities will not need to take in to consideration the net metering cap. Class I RECs include RECs produced from most renewable energy technologies (solar, wind, tidal, biomass etc.) that were operational after December 31, 1997. (Source: DSIRE)
*A previous version of this post included language about a property tax exemption for qualified renewable energy facilities. The property tax exemption portion of SB 2395 was not included in the final bill.