On Tuesday, December 16th the DOER presented a draft of their final design for guidelines pertaining to the inclusion of renewable thermal technologies in the Massachusetts Alternative Portfolio Standard (APS). Per the statute, the DOER will be including technologies that generate useful thermal energy from sunlight, biomass, biogas, liquid biofuel or naturally occurring temperature differences in the ground, air, or water, and has been conducting a comprehensive stakeholder review prior to the formal rulemaking process next year.
While the regulations will likely not go into effect until Summer 2015, the current draft proposes to be retroactive, so that eligible systems installed from January 1, 2015 onwards could qualify for the APS. This is welcome news for renewable technologies such as Solar Hot Water systems, which are not currently included in the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) nor the APS.
Here we will highlight several aspects of the regulation that are especially important for Solar Hot Water installers and owners. Under the proposed draft, eligible solar thermal technologies must be:
- Active solar thermal technology using evacuated tubes or flat place collectors for space heating, domestic hot water, or process hot water.
In terms of the specific registration metering requirements, the draft designates a cutoff between “Small” and “Large” solar thermal systems at surface area of 660 square feet. Larger systems will likely be required to adhere to stringent metering and reporting standards, while small systems will be able to produce Alternative Energy Credits (AECs) based off of the projected output of their system.
In order to reduce the complexity of AEC sales for residential and small commercial owners that fall under the “Small” category of each of these renewable thermal technologies, the DOER is proposing a 10-year upfront strip of AECs in lieu of producing AECs over time. Non-emitting renewable thermal technologies, like Solar Hot Water, would also receive a multiplier on their credits in recognition of their environmental advantage and current higher levelized cost.
Currently the MA APS market is undersupplied, with credits trading in the range of $15-$20/AEC. SRECTrade will continue to follow these regulations closely and keep stakeholders informed on how we will be assisting system owners with AEC transaction and management services.