Posts Tagged ‘Massachusetts Solar RPS’

MA16 SREC-I Market Review

Posted November 3rd, 2016 by SRECTrade.

With the October issuance of Q2 2016 SRECs behind us, we are now approximately halfway through the 2016 energy year in Massachusetts. This blog post will take into account observed issuance numbers from the first half of the year and use projections for future issuance periods to understand what caused the fall in MA16 SREC-I prices from $450+ in January to more recent bids of $380. We will look at the supply and demand balance in order to survey what may be coming in the months ahead.

Recall that demand is driven by retail electric sales in the State. The latest data we have comes from 2014, a year in which 48,129,294 MWh were sold. If we assume that retail electricity sales are flat and we apply the obligation of 1.76% and then adjust for exempted load, we derive a total estimated demand of 833,780 SRECs:

MA16 SREC-I Demand

On the supply side of the market, the simplest analysis assumes the market generates nearly 784,000 SRECs and when combined with the re-minted volumes from this year’s SCCA (1,898), then we get a total supply of 785,886. When compared to the demand outlined above, we conclude the market is short nearly 48,000 SRECs.

MA16 REC-I simple supply

What would explain falling prices in a market that is potentially under-supplied? The quick answer is that perhaps retail sales of electricity are falling instead of flat, which would lower the demand. Alternatively, perhaps the supply of SRECs is higher than detailed. We’ll examine some supply scenarios first.

One component of supply is the banked SRECs from prior years. Retail suppliers can bank up to 10% of their annual obligation for use in future years. The maximum volume of banked RECs in the market is estimated at 65,382 – the sum of the total obligation in 2014 and 2015 multiplied by 10%. If all of those SRECs were brought to market in 2016, then we would see the market long by 17,488 SRECs. We see that scenario as unlikely since 2015 was short and the bank may have been used to avoid paying Alternative Compliance Payments (ACPs). On the other hand, it’s possible that between re-minted SRECs from the 2013 and 2014 SCCCA and banked volumes, that upwards of 15,000 SRECs from prior vintages may impact the 2016 market. This source of supply would help to tighten the balance of supply and demand, but not necessarily push to over-supply.

Examining a different scenario on the demand side, even if retail sales were down 3%, the total SREC demand would still sit at 808,414, leaving a tight, yet still under-supplied market based on the simpler supply analysis.

Another element worth mentioning is liquidity. While a healthy market needs liquidity from both buyers and sellers in order to function properly, we will direct our attention to the buy-side. Because there are far more sellers than buyers in this market, an absence of even a handful of buyers is far more impactful to the efficiency of the SREC markets than the absence of an equivalent number of sellers.

In recent months we have observed a noticeably subdued level of activity from buyers. What happens when SRECs are issued and a bunch of sellers come into a quiet market? As evidenced from pricing over the last month, bids start to retreat:


A simplistic read of the current state of the market is that prices have dropped due to the possibility of oversupply. However, deeper examination of current supply and demand in SREC-I markets points towards a tighter, more balanced market. The bearish sentiment reflected in recent weeks may actually reflect a lack of activity from natural compliance buyers in the face of a glut of supply coming to market after Q2 issuance. These two scenarios mean very different things for medium to long term “equilibrium” pricing in the SREC-I market. A structural and persistent oversupply, a scenario we do not perceive as likely, would mean that lower prices are justified and here to stay. A mismatch of liquidity due to trading preferences of buyers and sellers however would point towards short term volatility but longer term stability in supportive SREC prices.

As always, we will continue to provide follow-up analysis as more information becomes available.  Feel free to reach out to your contacts on SRECTrade’s brokerage desk with any questions you may have.


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MA DOER Releases 2012 SREC Requirement

Posted September 5th, 2011 by SRECTrade.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) recently announced the SREC requirement for the 2012 compliance year. The 2012 compliance requirement is based on a formula that takes into consideration the 2011 compliance obligation, the forecast 2011 total SREC generation, and the actual 2010 SREC generation. A growth rate is then applied to these figures based on a set formula for the MA SREC program. Additional considerations are made for the 2010 Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP) volume, the 2010 banked SREC volume, and the number of 2010 SRECs purchased through Solar Credit Clearinghouse Auction. For a detailed analysis of this formula and the considerations made for setting the 2012 requirement please see this link.

Upon running the figures, the DOER arrived at a 2012 compliance obligation of 81,559 MWhs or SRECs. This represents an increase over the 2011 standard by 2,982 SRECs, or approximately 3.8%. After factoring in the estimated load exemptions from the TransCanada settlement, the 2012 compliance year target is approximately 73,400 SRECs. This equals an increase of approximately 10,400 SRECs from the 2011 adjusted target of about 63,000 SRECs. Converting these figures to MW capacity, using a 1.13 MWh production factor per installed kW per year, 2012 will need the equivalent of approximately 65 MW online vs. the 2011 required capacity of approximately 55.7 MW. This step up in capacity represents an increase of 16.6%.

MA 2012 Capacity Req Graph

*Note: The 2011 and 2012 estimated megawatts required in the chart above have been adjusted for the impact of the TransCanada settlement.

MA DOER Seeks to Set Fixed SACP Schedule

Posted August 3rd, 2011 by SRECTrade.

On August 2, 2011, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) proposed an amendment to the Solar Alternative Compliance Payment (SACP) schedule for the MA SREC program. Feedback from market participants including project developers, financing parties, and retail electricity suppliers indicated the current SACP structure creates uncertainty around future SREC valuation. Under the existing structure, the DOER has the ability to reduce the SACP on a yearly basis by up to 10% of the current value. The amended schedule seeks to provide more certainty for expected future prices while assisting project financing and negotiations for long-term SREC contracts.

The proposal establishes a 10-year schedule for the SACP that would maintain the current rate of $550/SREC through compliance year 2013, then decrease 5% each following year. The proposal also requires the schedule to be updated on a yearly basis to include a price for the 10th year of the schedule. For example, the 2022 price will be added to the schedule no later than January 31, 2012. The table below demonstrates the proposed schedule.

MA SACP Schedule 8_2_11

Prior to implementation, the proposed schedule is to go through a comment process. The comment period is currently open through August 15, 2011. Once all comments are collected, the DOER will review and begin the necessary process to amend the existing Solar Carve-Out provisions.

Mass DOER releases July statistics, SRECTrade continues to lead in Mass SREC market

Posted July 20th, 2011 by SRECTrade.

With the August SREC auction coming next Friday, July 29th, SRECTrade will post the first sale for 2011 SRECs in Massachusetts. Last week, the DOER released the most recently updated list of qualified and installed solar projects (excel download) in the state that are eligible for the solar carve-out. This gives us a unique opportunity to look behind the curtains and see what is going on in the SREC market.

Of the 649 projects that are operational, SRECTrade’s aggregation is by far the largest in the state, representing 36% of all facilities that are operational in Massachusetts. In terms of installed capacity, with nearly 3 MW of 19 MW installed as of July 11, the 16% share of capacity is second only to the state’s largest utility, National Grid who has installed 4 projects totaling 3.4 MW which represents 18% of the solar capacity in the market. That said, 16% understates SRECTrade’s presence in the Massachusetts since signing up for SRECTrade’s aggregation service is not a pre-requisite for selling through the platform.

Largest SREC Aggregations in Massachusetts

% of

Capacity Rank

% of

Facility Rank

National Grid










Totals: 649 Facilities / 19.0 MW

Although key features like transparent, competitive market pricing, low fees, no contracts to sign and online access to the SRECs that are not lumped together with other facilities have made SRECTrade an attractive option to solar owners, the success of the platform can ultimately be attributed to the network of installers that recommend it to their customers. According to the DOER’s report, 42 of the 111 installers with facilities in the ground have customers with SRECTrade, including 8 of the top 10 installers by volume.

Top Installers In SRECTrade’s Network as of July 11, 2011 (as published by DOER)
– My Generation Energy, Inc., Brewster, MA
– SunBug Solar, Somerville, MA
– Sunlight Solar Energy, Waltham, MA
– E2 Solar Inc., Hyannis, MA
– Alteris Renewables Inc., Natick, MA
– NorthEast Solar Design Associates, West Hatfield, MA
– South Mountain Company, Inc., West Tisbury, MA
– SolarFlair Energy, Inc., Framingham, MA

The SRECTrade aggregation is not a prerequisite to participate in the SRECTrade market. The platform is open to anyone in the market looking to sell SRECs. The improved fee structure makes SRECTrade a simple and inexpensive option for aggregations with SRECs to sell. The combination of an open platform and guaranteed volume coming from the state’s largest aggregation makes SRECTrade the top destination in Massachusetts for entities with compliance obligations.

How long will projects be eligible for the Massachusetts Solar Carve-Out?

Posted March 16th, 2011 by SRECTrade.

Understanding the length of time that Massachusetts solar facilities can generate and sell SRECs as part of the Solar Carve-Out is key to financing solar in the state. In an earlier post, we explained the Massachusetts Last-Chance Auction in great detail. The purpose was to help stakeholders understand the conditions, if any, that would result in the SREC market dropping below $285. From there, it is also important to understand how long a facility can bank on the floor price set by the auction.

The Opt-In Term is the length of time a facility is eligible for the Last-Chance Auction
There are a few misconceptions regarding the “10-year” Opt-In Term and the 400 MW Minimum Standard Cap. For example, it might seem that the program is slated to last 10 years or until it reaches 400 MW, after which the SRECs go away. This is most definitely NOT true. The Opt-In Term actually represents the length of time that a facility that is approved for the SREC program can opt into the Last-Chance Auction, i.e. the amount of time a facility is guaranteed a floor price in the market. Once a facility is approved, this term cannot be changed – though the Opt-In Term for future projects may be adjusted by the DOER (see below).

The 400 MW Cap is a limit to the amount that will be approved for the Solar Carve-Out
Meanwhile, the 400 MW cap is actually just a limit to the capacity of projects that can be eligible for the Solar Carve-Out. The 400th MW approved for the SREC program will be eligible for the full-length of the published Opt-In Term. This means that if Massachusetts reaches 400 MW in 2015 and the Opt-In Term is still 10 years, then the Solar Carve-Out will fade out in 2025. In simple terms: the state will accept 400 MWs into the program and every accepted facility will be guaranteed a floor of $285 for “X years” from the time it is installed. “X years” will vary based on the Opt-In Term established in the year of installation.

The Opt-In Term may change for future projects
Today, the Opt-In Term is 10 years and that will not change for any existing projects. However, every year, the DOER may make a change to the Opt-In Term for NEW facilities based on the results of the last-chance auction. If there is an oversupply, then the Opt-In Term may be decreased by as much as 2 years to a minimum of 5 until 2017, and a minimum of zero thereafter. If there is a shortage, the Opt-In Term may be increased to a maximum of 10 years.

The Solar Carve-Out expires when the Opt-In Term ends for the final project approved under the 400 MW Cap
Finally, facilities can continue to sell SRECs after the Opt-In Term as long as the Solar Carve-Out program is still in place. The only difference is that those facilities will no longer be eligible for the Last-Chance Auction and therefore are not supported by the $285 floor price. The Solar Carve-Out will expire after the Opt-In Term for the final project registered under the 400 MW Cap has concluded AND all remaining SRECs created during that time have either been sold or expired. After this time, all facilities will be transferred to the RPS Class I REC market (which by that time could be worth very little).

Here are the key paragraphs taken from the DOER Solar Carve Out website worth reading carefully:

Minimum Standard Cap and Termination of the Program
The Minimum Standard is capped at 455,520 MWh (sufficient to enable the installation of approximately 400 MW of solar PV). When DOER qualifies 400 MW of solar for the program, qualification of all additional solar installations is transferred to the RPS Class I Program. Once the cap has been met, the Minimum Standard for the RPS Solar Carve-Out will be set annually per regulation to maintain market balance. The RPS Solar Carve-Out program remains in effect until all the Auction Opt-In Terms of the qualified projects and the full shelf-life years of any Re-Minted Auction SRECs have both expired, thereby maintaining the price certainty promised to all solar generators. For the year after the final Compliance Year, when the Solar Carve-Out Minimum Standard is set to zero SRECs shall cease to exist, and all generation from qualified Solar Carve-Out Renewable Generation Units shall produce RPS Class I Renewable Energy Attributes.

Opt-In Term
The Auction Opt-­In Term is defined as the number of years (expressed in calendar quarters) that a project is eligible to deposit SRECs into the Solar Credit Clearinghouse Auction Account. For all projects qualified in 2010, this is set at 10 years, or 40 quarters. Any SRECs generated in this span of 40 quarters will be eligible to participate in an auction that will potentially be held each July, where they will be assured a price of $300/MWh for their SRECs (minus a $15 auction fee assessed by DOER). This mechanism sets a floor price for SRECs and gives projects long-­term price assurance should they be unable to sell them directly to LSEs or there be an oversupply of SRECs. Once a project’s Opt-In Term has expired, its owner may continue to sell their SRECs until the program officially ends, but will not have the price assurance guaranteed by the ability to Opt-­In to the auction.

Adjustments to Auction Opt-In Term
Long Market (SREC Oversupply) Adjustment: The Auction Opt-In Term is reduced by 4 quarters for each full 10% of the year’s Compliance Obligation that is deposited into the Auction Account. The maximum reduction per annual adjustment is two years. The minimum Auction Opt-In Term is 20 quarters or 5 years for the first 7 years of the program (through Compliance Year 2016). After that time, the minimum term is reduced to zero years, unless otherwise set by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER). Short Market (SREC Shortage) Adjustment: The Auction Opt-In Term is increased by 4 quarters for each full 10% of the year’s Compliance Obligation that is met through Alternative Compliance Payments. The maximum reduction per annual adjustment is two years. The maximum Opt-In Term is 40 quarters.

In conclusion, we will monitor the Opt-In Term as it is published each year by the DOER. The term will not change for existing projects once established, but it will impact new projects. Solar developers should consider this as they do project finance for facilities that may not be completed this year. Given the shortage in the SREC market in 2010, we do not foresee any changes to the Opt-In Term in 2011.

SRECTrade continues to offer long-term Fixed-Price and Upfront SREC payments for solar projects in Massachusetts.


Solar Capacity in the SREC States – January 2011

Posted February 2nd, 2011 by SRECTrade.

SRECTrade SREC Markets Report: January 2011

The following post outlines the megawatts of solar capacity certified and/or registered to create SRECs in the SREC markets SRECTrade currently serves.

SREC Supply January 2011

PJM Eligible Systems

As of the end of January, there were 12,240 solar PV (12,001) and solar thermal (239) systems registered and eligible to create SRECs in the PJM Generation Attribute Tracking System registry. Of these eligible systems, 38 (0.3%) have a nameplate capacity of 1 megawatt or greater, of which only 3 systems are greater than 5 MW. The largest system, currently located in Ohio, is 12 MW,  and the second largest, located in Chicago and eligible for the PA, DC, and MD markets, is 10 MW. The third largest system, located in NJ, is 5.6 MW.

Massachusetts DOER Qualified Projects

As of January 10, 2011, there were 206 MA DOER qualified solar projects; 183 operational and 23 not operational. Of these qualified systems, 9 (4.4%) have a nameplate capacity of 1 megawatt or greater, of which only 2 are between 1.5 and 2 MW. None of the projects greater than 1 MW are currently operational.

Capacity Summary By State

The tables above demonstrate the capacity breakout by state. Note, that for all PJM GATS registered projects, each state includes all projects certified to sell into that state. State RPS programs that allow for systems sited in other states to participate have been broken up by systems sited in state and out of state. Additional detail has been provided to demonstrate the total capacity of systems only certified for one specific state market versus being certified for multiple state markets. For example, PA includes projects only certified to sell into the PA SREC market, broken out by in state and out of state systems, as well as projects that are also certified to sell into PA and Other State markets broken out by in state and out of state systems (i.e. OH, DC, MD, DE, NJ). PA Out of State includes systems sited in states with their own state SREC market (i.e. DE) as well as systems sited in states that have no SREC market (i.e. VA). Also, it is important to note that the Current Capacity represents the total megawatts eligible to produce and sell SRECs as of the noted date, while the Estimated Required Capacity – Current and Next Reporting Year represents the estimated number of MW that need to be online on average throughout the reporting period to meet the RPS requirement within each state. For example, New Jersey needs approximately 255 MW online for the entire 2011 reporting year to meet the RPS requirement. Additionally, the data presented above does not include projects that are in the pipeline or currently going through the registration process in each state program. This data represents specifically the projects that have been approved for the corresponding state SREC markets as of the date noted.


Massachusetts Solar Credit Clearinghouse Auction Explained

Posted July 26th, 2010 by SRECTrade.

MA Energy Year: January 1st – December 31st.

SREC Life: Two years for compliance buyers who may bank up to 10% of their requirement but sellers must sell SRECs in the year they are generated or deposit them in the DOER Auction. So an SREC produced in 2010 can be counted towards the 2010 or 2011 Solar Carve-Out.

When is the last SRECTrade Auction of each Energy Year?

The final SRECTrade auctions will occur in May and June of the following year, immediately before the DOER Solar Credit Clearinghouse last chance auction which closes on June 15th of each year. SRECs are generated quarterly in Massachusetts on a 4-month delay.  SRECs for Q1 (January-March) are available on July 15th and can be sold in auction at the beginning of August. Q2 SRECs are available on October 15th and can be sold in the November auction, Q3 SRECs are available on January 15th and sold in the February auction and Q4 SRECs are available on April 15th and can be sold in the May auction. Any SRECs remaining after the final SRECTrade auction can be entered into the DOER auction.

What happens if at the end of the year I still haven’t sold my SREC(s)?

If you are an SRECTrade client and you have any SRECs that were not sold then SRECTrade will automatically transfer your SRECs to the  DOER Solar Credit Clearinghouse auction.  You do not need to tell SRECTrade to transfer your SRECs if SRECTrade manages your SREC account. SRECs entered into the auction are “Re-Minted” meaning the eligibility of the SREC is adjusted. For example, a 2010 SREC is originally eligible for compliance in 2010 and 2011. If it enters into the DOER auction, the SREC is Re-Minted to be eligible for compliance in 2011 and 2012. It is no longer eligible for compliance in 2010. Buyers may then bid to purchase the SREC to get a start on meeting their requirements for 2011. The DOER auction will be open May 16th to June 15th each year.  SRECs will be sold at a gross fixed price of $300 less a 5% fee resulting in a net price of $285 to any sellers.

Am I guaranteed to sell my SRECs in the DOER Solar Credit Clearinghouse auction?

No, you are not guaranteed to sell your SRECs in the DOER auction. However, it is unlikely that the SRECs don’t sell. If there is an oversupply of SRECs in the DOER auction, the SRECs will all be granted a third year of eligibility and a second auction will be held. So, in our example, the 2010 SREC will now be eligible in 2011, 2012 and 2013. If there still aren’t enough bids to clear all of the SRECs, DOER will increase the requirements to the buyers by the number of SRECs that are available. The buyers bidding in the auction will now be required to purchase more SRECs in 2011. If after this third attempt, there still aren’t enough bids, the SRECs are returned to the owner as Re-Minted SRECs. These SRECs will be more valuable in the open market than any new SRECs that are created. Going back to our example, the original SREC was a 2010 SREC, eligible in 2010 and 2011 before the auction. Once it was entered in the DOER auction, it became eligible in 2011 and 2012. After an unsuccessful DOER auction it was released back to the owner as an SREC eligible in 2011, 2012 and 2013. This SREC now has a 3-year useful life, making it more valuable to a buyer than the new SRECs created in 2011 which only have a 2-year useful life.

If I’m unsuccessful in the DOER auction, how can I be assured that my SREC will still sell above $300?

Following the DOER last chance auction, SRECTrade will resume its monthly competitive auctions. If there was a surplus of SRECs in the DOER auction, they can be immediately listed in the SRECTrade auction the following month and made available to buyers who are now looking to meet their requirements – which have now been increased by the DOER. At this point, buyers will likely resume buying SRECs in the competitive market in order to ensure that they are able to meet their new requirement and avoid the $600 SACP. SREC prices should stay above $300 in the SRECTrade auctions since the DOER auction at the end of the year will guarantee that price.

Why would a buyer of SRECs ever pay more than $300 when they could just wait to buy their SRECs in the Solar Credit Clearinghouse?

Buyers cannot wait for the DOER auction to buy their SRECs for 2010. When an SREC enters the DOER auction, it is stripped of its 2010 eligibility and cannot be used to meet the requirement for the year in which it was generated. The 2010 SRECs placed in the DOER auction can therefore only be used to meet the 2011 or 2012 requirements. Meanwhile, buyers will want to purchase their 2010 SRECs in the competitive market prior to the DOER auction – otherwise they face the $600 fine.

Massachusetts DOER Raises Solar Requirement for 2011

Posted June 17th, 2010 by SRECTrade.

The Massachusetts DOER made its final changes pertaining to the implementation of the solar carve-out program in the state’s RPS class I revised regulation. Most noteworthy of the changes, the DOER increased the solar requirement for the 2011 energy year to 69MW, or a total of 78,577 MWh. The increase in the solar requirement is a welcome development for SREC markets in Massachusetts, coming on the heels of the TransCanada legislation, which reduced the solar requirement for Massachusetts (more information on the TransCanada legislation here). This is a good indication that the state has levers it can pull to ensure the state supports a thriving SREC market, providing the market with some stability.

This should serve to counterbalance the change prompted by the TransCanada settlement that exempts certain buyers from the solar carve-out.

To see the all the changes made to the legislation see the RPS Class I Revised Regulation with Tracked Changes.

Massachusetts SREC Market

Posted December 16th, 2009 by SRECTrade.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) recently announced the implementation of a solar carve out as part of the state’s renewable portfolio standard.  The carve-out establishes a requirement of 25 MW of solar electricity for 2010 and a solar alternative compliance payment (SACP) of $600.  SRECTrade will begin hosting SREC auctions in Massachusetts in 2010.  Solar generators may begin registering their facilities with SRECTrade as long as they meet the criteria for eligibility in Massachusetts:

– Solar photovoltaic project located in Massachusetts
– Under 2MW in capacity
– Installed on or after January 1, 2008
– Has not received funding from Commonwealth Solar I
– Has not received substantial support from ARRA-related federal stimulus funds

Go to the Massachusetts Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) Program page for more details.