Posts Tagged ‘net metering cap’

Massachusetts Raises Caps; Passes Net Energy Metering Bill

Posted April 17th, 2016 by SRECTrade.

On April 11, Governor Baker signed into law Chapter 75 of the Acts of 2016. The law, which was passed with an emergency preamble to have immediate effect, raises the net metering cap by 3% for private and public solar projects and will reduce the current retail remuneration rate to the wholesale rate for commercial and community solar projects once the state hits its 1600 MW solar target. Residential projects 10 kW and smaller on single-phase circuits, or systems under 25 kW on 3-phase circuits, will be exempt from the new rates under Sections 7 and 8 of the Act. Finally, the Act will permit utilities to charge solar project owners a minimum bill to cover their fixed costs.

The immediate effect of the Act will enable the stalled solar industry in Massachusetts to restart in the short term, but the Act is far from a comprehensive solution to establishing long-term, sustainable policies for solar in the Commonwealth. With the new cap estimated to be reached in some territories within a few weeks, the pressure remains on the Legislature to continue discussions on the future of solar in the state.

The Act is the result of compromise between and among the Senate, the House of Representatives, and Governor Baker. Following an impasse of the chambers’ and Governor’s respective bills last summer and into the fall, the Legislature was able to reconcile H.4173 and S.1979, passing the bill in each chamber with nearly unanimous approval. The lone “Nay” was asserted by Rep. Jonathan Hecht (D), who voiced his worry that devaluing net metering credits was a step in the wrong direction for the Commonwealth. “I’m afraid if we do lower net metering rates by that large amount, it means many solar projects simply will not get built[]”, Hecht said.

With the devaluation of net metering rates, stakeholders will expect the value to be made up elsewhere to ensure the financial viability of solar projects. Following the SREC-II Emergency Regulations issued by the DOER last week, it is clear that the DOER is working on the next phase of the state’s solar incentive program to fulfill their obligations under Section 11 of the Act. Sustainable Energy Advantage, LLC (SEA) has been engaged to assist in conducting analysis in evaluation of the next program, and stakeholders will have the opportunity to participate in the design and implementation of the next phase of the program.

Thanks in large part to the state’s net metering policies, former Governor Patrick setting the state’s 1,600 MW target, and the successful SREC-I and SREC-II programs, the robust Massachusetts solar industry now employs more than 15,100 people. Today, the state ranks sixth in installed solar capacity, with more than 1,020 MW of solar installed.


MA Gov. Deval Patrick Signs Law Adjusting Net Metering Cap

Posted August 30th, 2012 by SRECTrade.

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.