How Will Your Solar Project be Affected by Proposed Changes to the Solar Carve-Out Program?

In the Press · February 28, 2013

The Massachusetts
Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has officially opened up a rule-making
process to amend its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) regulation after
signaling its intent to "tweak" the current SREC formula late last
year. These proposed changes are now officially open for public comment and
DOER will hold a public hearing on March 22 at the State House (Gardner
Auditorium) at 1:00 pm
. Written comments may also be submitted until 5:00
pm on March 25, 2013.

The DOER’s proposed
draft regulation amends the Solar Carve-Out Program in a number of ways but
some of the more critical items include:

  • Making adjustments to the SREC’s Minimum Standard
    Formula by removing the subtraction of Alternative Compliance Payment
    (ACP) Volume from the Compliance Obligation, allowing for more growth.
    DOER will recalculate the CY2013 Compliance Obligation to reflect this
    change. 
  • Allowing any owner of SRECs, not just the project owner
    or operator of the solar generation unit, to deposit into the Auction
    Account. 
  • Clarifying that Re-minted SRECs may not be deposited
    into the Auction Account in subsequent years. 
  • Establishing an Assurance of Qualification process
    to" queue up" Statement of Qualification Applications (SQAs) as
    we get closer to the 400 MW cap. DOER will also develop a Guideline to
    provide additional details. Special accommodations will be made for
    smaller units. 
  • Specifying that Assurances of Qualification shall be
    granted (securing your system’s spot in the 400 MW cap) if your SQA
    provides either an approval to interconnect from the utility or (in lieu
    of such approval) evidence of:

    • Fully executed Interconnection Services Agreement
    • Adequate site control
    • All necessary entitlements, but NOT final permits such
      as building and electrical permits

Note: The criteria
above are almost identical to the Net Metering System of Assurance.

  • Providing project owners with flexibility by allowing
    them to get their Statement of Qualification (SQ) any time from the point
    at which they receive their Assurance of Qualification until commercial
    operation. This assists owners trying to maximize their Opt-In Terms with
    their construction timelines. The draft regulation contemplates the
    development of a process for project owners to lose their SQ if they fail
    to meet certain requirements. 
  • Modifying how the Solar Carve-Out Program will continue
    once the 400 MW cap is reached, as well as making accommodations for
    Competitive Suppliers for CY2013. In addition, DOER addressed a couple of
    non-solar related items, such as increasing the size of eligible hydro in
    response to legislative amendments and allowing eligible biogas to utilize
    common carrier pipelines to transport gas to generation units to create
    RECs. Previously, this option had been available only to landfill gas.

Click here for details on
the regulation with the proposed changes and more information on the public
hearing. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, we encourage you
to consider participating in the public comment or hearing process.

If you have any
questions or would like additional information about the RPS regulation, the
public comment and hearing process, or want to learn more about renewable energy and energy efficiency
regulations and programs, please contact
Craig M. Tateronis, at 617 456
8021 or ctateronis@princelobel.com.