Archive for the ‘Massachusetts’ Category

Massachusetts Governor Baker Releases Net Metering Bill to Rival Senate Bill

Posted August 13th, 2015 by SRECTrade.

Shortly before its summer recess, the Massachusetts Senate passed Amendment 18 to S. 1973 in a voice vote on July 23. Two weeks later, on August 7, 2015, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker released a net metering bill to rival S. 1973.

Both the Senate Bill and the Governor’s Bill address the net metering caps that are currently causing a slow-down in the Commonwealth’s solar development, and look to former Governor Patrick’s goal for the Commonwealth to install 1,600 megawatts of solar energy in Massachusetts by 2020. Earlier this year, the Baker-Polito Administration announced its support of the goal to achieve 1,600 MW by 2020. Accordingly, both S. 1973 and the Governor’s Bill propose to raise the net metering caps to meet the goal of 1,600 MW by 2020.

Under Amendment 18 to S. 1973, the Senate calls for raising the caps to 1,600 MW, and eliminating the caps thereafter (the elimination of the caps would apply to solar net metering facilities, with the exception that the maximum amount of generating capacity eligible for net metering by a municipality or other governmental entity shall be 10 megawatts), but the bill would do little else to change the value of a net metering credit. In addition to addressing the caps, the Amendment calls for Massachusetts regulators to “develop a solar incentive program to encourage continued development of solar…” with the goal of “develop[ing] a sustainable long-term framework that effectively balances promoting clean energy and costs to ratepayers,” to be implemented after the 1,600 MW target has been reached. Unfortunately, the Senate bill also attempts to limit the potential options for future programs, without much consideration for allowing the stakeholder process to consider all of the policy options presented by the Task Force in its Final Report (see below).

In contrast, Governor Baker’s Bill would substantially reduce the value of net metering credits in the Commonwealth. For solar projects over 10 kW on single phase, or projects over 25 kW on 3-phase, the value of net metering credits will be the average monthly clearing price in ISO-NE (that is, the wholesale retail rate). This would be a drastic change from the current value, which includes the value of all wires charges, such as distribution, transmission and transition charges. For other specific facilities, including municipal or other governmental entity (“MOOGE”) facilities, facilities for low-income off-takers and community shared solar facilities, the value of net metering credits will be based on the utility’s basic service kW charge, and will also exclude wires charges. The result of this exclusion in both categories is the value of credits being cut nearly in half. But like the Senate Bill, the Governor’s Bill also calls on Massachusetts regulators to “establish a solar incentive program for the development of distributed solar generation beyond 1,600 [MW] by solar photovoltaic facilities connected to a distribution or transmission system, which shall be a statewide program.”

Both the Senate Bill and the Governor’s Bill draw upon the recommendations from the Net Metering and Solar Task Force. The Net Metering and Solar Task Force was a group established last fall by the Massachusetts Legislature under Ch. 251 of the Acts of 2014, Section 7. The Task Force was responsible for reviewing the “long-term viability of net metering and develop recommendations on incentives and programs to support the deployment of 1600 MW of solar generation facilities in the commonwealth.” In its Final Report, the Task Force encouraged the Commonwealth to develop a solar incentive framework that would satisfy eight different program attributes, including promoting the orderly transition to a stable, equitable and self-sustaining solar market, and relying on market-based mechanisms and/or price signals as much as possible to set incentive levels such that the program would be readily adaptable to changing market conditions, all while minimizing costs, incentivizing diverse development, and promoting investor confidence. The Task Force cautiously qualified its recommendations by stating that “[t]he selection of a path for modeling is not an indication that a majority, or indeed any, of the Task Force members would like to see that path implemented,” and encouraged the DOER and DPU to lead a “comprehensive and transparent solar benefit/cost study to determine the value of impact of solar in Massachusetts” so that the Massachusetts Legislature, DOER, and DPU could more thoroughly evaluate the options presented by the Task Force, including the potential for an SREC III program to follow the highly successful SREC I and SREC II programs.

When the Legislature returns from its summer recess this Fall, the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utility and Energy will be confronted with the formidable task of reconciling these rival bills alongside the recommendations from the Net Metering and Solar Task Force, in order to help shape the future of solar in Massachusetts.

MA SREC-I Update: 2016 Demand and 2014 SCCA Clears Round 1

Posted July 28th, 2015 by SRECTrade.

Over the past couple days, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has released a couple important announcements.

MA2016 SREC-I Compliance Obligation

Yesterday, July 27, 2015, the DOER released the 2016 SREC-I preliminary compliance obligation. The details of the email can be found here.

The preliminary obligation for the 2016 compliance year has been set at 845,519 SRECs. The MA DOER noted that the requirement will be finalized and announced no later than August 30, 2015. Additionally, it was stated that the requirement, “will more than likely lead to an undersupply of the SREC-I market in 2016″. The DOER also specifically noted that the undersupply for MA2016 SREC-Is has no impact on the MA SREC-II market.

For more information on the calculation of the MA2016 SREC-I requirement visit the DOER website and the detailed calculation document.

Solar Credit Clearinghouse Auction Clears in Round 1

Today, July 28, 2015, the DOER announced the results of the Solar Credit Clearinghouse Auction (SCCA) for MA2014 SREC-I vintage Solar Renewable Energy Credits. Available for sale were 124,831 MA2014 SREC-Is at a fixed price of $300/SREC to all buyers; a price of $285/SREC to sellers. The auction hosted 55 unique bidders with a total bid volume of 1,113,789 SRECs, almost 9.0x the amount of SRECs available for sale. More information about the SCCA can be found on the DOER’s website.

MA Solar Development Slow Down Likely as Net Metering Caps are Hit

Posted March 22nd, 2015 by SRECTrade.

This blog post is based on the post available at www.solarisworking.org.

In mid-March 2015, the net metering cap for public projects was hit in the National Grid territory (see red box in chart below). The Commonwealth’s legislatively-mandated net metering caps are based on each utility’s historical peak megawatt energy demand. Effective November 4, 2014  net metering caps were set at 4% for “private” projects and 5% for “public” projects of each utility’s historical peak demand, out of line with the state’s 1600 MW solar target. Representing 45% of total net metering capacity in Massachusetts, National Grid also services a region of Massachusetts where it is easier and less expensive for developers to find suitable sites for solar, but Unitil and NGrid-Nantucket are not far behind in hitting the caps in either the private or public sector. The outlier is the NStar (now EverSource) territory, where it is more difficult and more expensive to find suitable sites for solar.

As the caps across the state’s utilities are hit, new solar projects will no longer be eligible to earn retail credit for the excess power returned to the grid. Instead, they will be credited for any excess power at roughly a third of the retail rate. This decreased benefit would render many solar projects financially unviable. Although residential systems 10 kW or less and many commercial systems 25 kW or less are exempt from net metering caps, community shared solar and larger solar projects are not. As a result, development activity for these projects is expected to come to a halt unless the legislature raises the caps. Several bills have been filed this year to address the need to raise net metering caps in order to meet the Commonwealth’s 1600 MW solar target, and the future of the Commonwealth’s solar industry hangs in the balance as the Legislature reviews the bills on its table.

03202015 caps

Source: Massachusetts System of Assurance of Net Metering Eligibility. The data provided below reflects the best available estimate at the time of access of capacity (kW) interconnected, reserved, and pending that is receiving, or eligible to receive, net metering services. The accuracy of this data set is limited as adjustments to outstanding Applications for Cap Allocation may occur at any time. Data and aggregate figures included in this report should be used for informative purposes only. Verified updates provided in the Application Activity and Remaining Capacity Report will continue to be available on a weekly basis, each Wednesday. Posted 3/20/2014.

 

If you want to voice your support to raise the net metering caps, here’s what you can do:

  • Tell Governor Baker to support solar in Massachusetts.
  • E-mail or call your state legislators and ask them to raise net metering caps and to support the continuation of the successful SREC program in Massachusetts.
  • Find out who your elected officials are here.
  • Look up and track legislation here.

 

Visit The Official Website of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to learn more about net metering.

 

MassSolar Launches “Solar Is Working” Website

Posted March 13th, 2015 by SRECTrade.

On Monday, March 9th, MassSolar proudly announced the launch of their new website, www.SolarIsWorking.org. MassSolar is a collaboration of Massachusetts solar business, solar owners, environmental advocates, community organizations, and motivated citizens dedicated to advancing progressive solar policy Massachusetts. As a versatile resource hub catering to the diverse solar community, MassSolar seeks to achieve modernization and maximization of efforts in the Massachusetts solar sphere while specifically focusing on expansion of the state’s solar economy.

The intuitive site provides its users with a variety of resources useful for installers, residential PV system owners, legislators, and the curious alike.  In addition to market reports and factsheets, the site offers a blog that will host contributions from stakeholders across the Commonwealth’s solar community.  MassSolar intends for the site to serve as a platform for discussions surrounding a home’s solar potential, the Net Metering and Solar Task Force proceedings, as well as legislation impacting the state’s solar industry.

MassSolar’s website also provides fun, yet informative, segments for the less solar savvy such as “10 Things About Solar Energy” and “Solar Stories,” a compilation of anecdotal evidence that highlights the advantages of solar programs in Massachusetts and the efficacy of current statewide programs.  To share your solar story, please send it to info@solarisworking.org.

Massachusetts Solar Loan Program Finalized

Posted January 14th, 2015 by SRECTrade.

On January 6, 2015, the Patrick Administration announced the final design of a $30 million residential solar loan program aimed to facilitate 6,000 loans over the next three years. The program, a partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and MassCEC, will work with local banks and credit unions to provide financing to homeowners interested in solar electrical systems. The loan will expand borrowing options through lower interest rate loans and encourage loans for homeowners with lower income or lower credit scores.

Though loan terms may vary by lender, homeowners who are approved for Mass Solar Loan can expect:

  • An interest rate of 3 percent or lower
  • A loan for between $3,000 and $35,000
  • A payback period of up to 10 years if the loan is for $15,000 or more
  • The ability to readjust the terms of the loan in the event of changes in state and federal tax credits

Over the next few months, MassCEC will work to enhance the program website, signup banks and credit unions to participate in this program and develop an online application tool. It is anticipated that the program will begin accepting solar loan applications by Spring 2015.

For more information on this program you can refer to the Mass Solar Loan Webpage and the DOER Final Loan Design Page.

Please contact SRECTrade if you have any questions.

Massachusetts DOER Discusses Final Design to Bring Renewable Thermal into APS

Posted December 19th, 2014 by SRECTrade.

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.

December 11, 2014 Massachusetts SREC Market Update Webinar Slides and Recording Available

Posted December 12th, 2014 by SRECTrade.

On December 11, 2014, SRECTrade hosted a webinar on the MA SREC market. For access to the slides please click here: SRECTrade 12/11/14 MA SREC Update. For access to a video recording of the webinar, click the image below.

This document and recording is protected by copyright laws and contains material proprietary to SRECTrade, Inc. It or any components may not be reproduced, republished, distributed, transmitted, displayed, broadcast or otherwise exploited in any manner without the express prior written permission of SRECTrade, Inc. The receipt or possession of this document does not convey any rights to reproduce, disclose, or distribute its contents, or to manufacture, use, or sell anything that it may describe, in whole or in part. If consent to use these materials is granted, a link to the current version of this document on the SRECTrade website must be included for reference.

Massachusetts DOER Announces Updated SREC-I and II Requirements

Posted December 2nd, 2014 by SRECTrade.

Today, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (MA DOER) announced the estimated megawatt hour compliance exemptions for SREC-I and SREC-II. Results were derived from a survey of retail electric suppliers serving power in the state.

According to the survey, the expected impact on 2014 and 2015 SREC demand for the SREC-II program, due to exempt load, will be a 35% decrease (14.6k SRECs) for 2014 and a 19% decrease (31.0k SRECs) for 2015. Additionally a small portion of SRECs (25.3k) from the SREC-I program will be exempt in 2015, a 2.4% decrease. Any potential impact on requirements for 2016 onward have not yet been provided. The chart below demonstrates the SREC-II obligation decrease, original vs. estimate, in 2014 and 2015.

For the latest on MA SREC pricing click here: December 2014 SREC Price Update

Screenshot_120214_024418_PM

Massachusetts Market Update Webinar – December 11th at 2 pm ET

Posted November 25th, 2014 by SRECTrade.

SRECTrade will host a webinar on Thursday, December 11th at 2 pm ET to review the Massachusetts SREC market.

Items to be covered in the webinar:

  • SREC-I and SREC-II market pricing and supply
  • The latest from the Net Metering and Solar Task Force
  • Next steps for net metering and solar policy development in Massachusetts

Register for the webinar here.

Massachusetts DOER Announces Net Metering and Solar Task Force

Posted November 6th, 2014 by SRECTrade.

On November 6, the DOER announced the establishment of the Net Metering and Solar Task Force, pursuant to Ch. 251 of the Acts of 2014, Section 7. Information on Task Force members, meetings, and materials are available on the official website of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) here.

The first Task Force meeting will take place on Thursday, November 13th from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. ET, at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection office in Boston.

Task Force meetings are open to the public, but the DOER has requested that attendees RSVP to Marissa.Fimiani@state.ma.us, as space is limited. Although the meetings are open to the public, the DOER encourages stakeholders to work through Task Force members to provide input. In addition to the regular Task Force meetings, two Stakeholder meetings will be held to allow for public input.

There will be a call-in number for those who are not able to travel to Boston, which will likely be posted on the EEA site referenced above.

The Task Force members are:

Member
Meg Lusardi, DOER Commissioner; Task Force Co-Chair
Kate McKeever, DPU Commissioner; Task Force Co-Chair
Benjamin B. Downing, Senator
Brian S. Dempsey, Representative
To Be Appointed By Senator Bruce E. Tarr
To Be Appointed By Representative Bradley H. Jones
Paul Brennan, Attorney General’s Office
David Colton, Easton Town Administrator
Robert Rio, Associated Industries of Massachusetts
Charles Harak, National Consumer Law Center
William Stillinger, PV Squared
Fred Zalcman, SunEdison
Janet Besser, New England Clean Energy Council
Geoff Chapin, Next Step Living
Lisa Podgurski, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 103
Camilo Serna, Northeast Utilities
Amy Rabinowitz, National Grid