Massachusetts SRECs 101

Posted June 8th, 2010 by SRECTrade.

What is an SREC? Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) are created for every megawatt hour of electricity produced by solar generators. A 10 kW system produces about 12 SRECs a year. SRECS are sold separately from electricity, and the solar power generated does not need to be used for the SREC to be created.

Who buys SRECs? Electricity suppliers must buy SRECs to meet the Massachusetts RPS requirement. Threatened by a Solar Alternative Compliance Payment (SACP) of $600 per megawatt hour if they do not comply, these companies will pay up to this price for SRECs.

How do I sell SRECs? Since individual solar owners do not produce enough SRECs to sell direct to buyers, an intermediary mechanism must exist. SRECTrade created the SREC auctions to connect sellers directly to the buyers in the market in a simple, efficient and effective way. The closing price of each auction represents the fair market price based on supply and demand.

Massachusetts SREC Pricing: State has set up a controlled market for SRECs that creates a price range of $300-$600 per SREC. There are several levers available to the state to ensure that pricing stays within this range.  First, the electricity suppliers who fall short of their SREC requirements must pay a fine of $600 per SREC. This sets a ceiling price of $600. In years where there is an SREC shortage, pricing will be close to $600. If there is an oversupply of SRECs, then market prices will be at or near $300. The state ensures this floor price by having a last chance fixed-price auction at the end of the year. Buyers can bid to purchase the SRECs that are available at $300 per SREC. If there are still unsold SRECs remaining after this auction, the state will adjust the capacity requirements for the following year to compensate for this surplus and allow increase the life of the unsold SRECs from 2-years to 3-years. This will ensure a stable SREC price and give solar owners an assurance that prices will be above $300.

Massachusetts Solar Requirement: The state has set the requirement for the SREC program at 30 megawatts of solar in 2010. That is the equivalent of approximately 36,000 SRECs that need to be produced and purchased by suppliers in 2010.

Massachusetts SREC Program Logistics

  1. SRECTrade will submit PV project application to the DOER. Once this application is approved, their solar facility will be added to the NEPOOL GIS tracking platform, where SRECs will be created and transacted.
  2. Solar electricity generation is reported to the Production Tracking System (PTS).
  3. SRECs are generated quarterly in NE-GIS and are then posted in the SREC auctions.
  4. The state has committed to the program for 10 years. Each SREC is valid for 2 years, so an SREC created in 2010 can also be sold in 2011.

SRECTrade Aggregation Logistics

  1. Fill out the forms to enroll in EasyREC
  2. SRECTrade will submit your application to the DOER for approval and set up your SREC account – this takes a few weeks
  3. Once set up, SRECTrade will collect your readings at the beginning of each month using an online form or internet-enabled inverter
  4. SRECs are generated quarterly by NE-GIS
  5. SRECTrade hosts monthly auctions on the first Friday of each month. You will be notified of the result after each auction. Possible results include:
    1. Successful: X SRECs sold at Y Price
    2. Unsuccessful: Y Price was below minimum, X SRECs not sold
    3. No SRECs: None were available in this auction
  6. If successful, payments will be delivered by the end of the month via direct deposit or mailed check. If unsuccessful SRECs are carried forward to next auction

EasyREC customers own their SRECs until sold in auction or contracted in the Forwards Exchange.

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