The SMART Program is Coming

The long anticipated Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program finally has a formal launch date and will be going into effect on November 26th, 2018.

Under SMART timing is imperative. The program is structured as a declining block model where incentive payments will decline over time as each of the eight 200 MW “blocks” fill up with registered arrays. The initial window from Nov 26th – Nov 30th will allow for projects already being planned to be seeded based on the date of their Interconnection Application (IA) approval. After this initial period, projects will be accepted into each block on a first come first serve basis.

The previous SREC-II program had been wildly successful for its extended run in the Bay State, but all good things must come to an end, and SMART brings some new and exciting opportunities.. There are several primary differences to keep in mind as we transition to SMART:

 

Payments are more predictable and timely.

SMART is a feed-in-tariff (FIT) based model where projects will be compensated monthly via a fixed rate payment for their kwh production. This new model provides better stability, more consistent payments, and a simpler model vs. its SREC predecessor where SRECs were minted and sold quarterly on a spot market, making it difficult to predict incentive values..

Your eligibility to install solar is no longer dependent on your demand for electricity.

The SMART program eliminates the need to consume the energy on-site.With the new standalone system model, array owners now have the option to send all solar production straight to the grid while receiving a fixed monthly payment for 20 years.

“Adders” will enable you to earn more for your arrays production by meeting specific criteria set by the DOER.

Not all solar arrays are created equal. In an effort to ensure a wide variety of stakeholders receive the benefits of solar energy and to promote best practices, and emerging technologies the DOER has designed incentive “adders” available for certain types of solar applications based on installation and consumer type. These adders  will increase the compensation rate for your array’s production For example, there are adders for solar that provides energy for low-incoming housing, or for projects that pair solar and storage technologies.

Timing is key.

We can’t stress this enough. If you want to maximize the return on your solar investment – now is the time. The declining block model of the program is structured to reward the early adopters. With the layover between the SREC-II program and SMART there are a plethora of projects waiting in the eaves for the program to open. The earliest and most profitable blocks of the program will fill up fast. In addition, the 30% federal investment tax credit (ITC) value starts to drop after 2019, so investments in solar in 2019 will yield the best returns.

 

Whether you’re interested in installing your first array, or have already installed solar and want to make the most of your remaining roof space, action in the next few months is imperative. The SMART program has big shoes to fill, but has already been recognized as having the potential to serve as a template for incentive programs across the country. We’re thrilled to finally get to see it in action, and hope you will join us!