The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has released its Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program regulations, which will now go through a public comment period. Although solar advocates have applauded the announcement, they have also raised some concerns about the program and the overall future of solar in the state.
Earlier this year, DOER extended the state’s Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC 2) program while it worked on SMART, a long-term replacement program designed to incentivize 1.6 GW of new solar generating capacity through a “declining block” structure, with base compensation rates reducing by set percentages in each block.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Massachusetts boasts the second-largest solar workforce in the country, thanks to state initiatives like net energy metering (NEM) and the SREC 2 program, and the DOER’s announcement could be a first step in giving residents and businesses confidence in the Bay State’s continued commitment to progress.
However, solar advocates have called for improvements in order to continue solar growth and state’s climate and clean energy leadership. Additionally, they note the Massachusetts legislature has proposed bills needed to expand the NEM program, which is currently closed for new projects in the majority of the state; therefore, the groups say, further steps are needed to continue solar growth.
“Thanks to Massachusetts’ leadership and initiatives that make solar more accessible and affordable, Massachusetts has set itself apart as a national leader that’s building its clean, equitable energy economy,” said Sean Garren, Northeast regional director at Vote Solar. “The Commonwealth affirmed its commitment to its clean energy future with today’s SMART program announcement, but more work is needed to improve the program and work with the legislature to expand net metering to ensure that we continue to harness the economic and environmental benefits of solar.”