Sunny Days Ahead for Solar Power in Massachusetts
Even amidst the coronavirus shutdowns, solar power continues to shine. In fact, for many systems recent days have been among the top-producing days in the past several years, with long days, cool temperatures, wind, and full sun.
Solar installations in Massachusetts have soared over the past few years as the state has implemented a variety of incentives to expand the deployment of these clean energy generation units. The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) launched the first Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) program in January 2010 with a capacity target of 400 MW. That program, now referred to as SREC-1, was exhausted by 2013. In 2014, DOER launched a follow-on program known as SREC-2 with an expanded target of 1600 MW of capacity. The SREC programs established financial incentives for solar power that made the economics of solar power very favorable, so the SREC-2 targets were met within a few years.
The Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program was created in November 2018 to replace the SREC programs. The SMART program allowed for the support an additional 1600 MW of solar power, however with solar installations increasing at an accelerating pace, as of 2020 the SMART program has already reached capacity for many parts of the state. National Grid service territories have been full for some time while some capacity remains in Eversource East, Until, and Nantucket service territories.
Therefore, DOER published emergency regulations on April 15, 2020 seeking to double the SMART capacity to 3200 MW. These new regulations will allow further development of solar arrays throughout the state with a declining incentive amount as the solar industry continues to become more price competitive.
Cooperstown Environmental LLC has experience with solar developers in performing environmental assessments. The Andover, MA-based company provides environmental consulting and engineering support to businesses, governments, property developers, and others. In addition to solar developments, services include the management and implementation of a variety of site assessment and site remediation techniques for contaminated properties, sometimes known as “Brownfields,” as well as associated areas including tax credits, and others.