Massachusetts Issues Emergency Rules Governing Solar Projects under SMART Program

On Wednesday, April 15, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) issued emergency regulations under its Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program regulations (225 CMR 20.00). The regulations are applicable to solar projects eligible for incentive payments under the SMART program. The regulations go into effect immediately.

Specifically, DOER’s revised regulations:

  • Expand the SMART program by 1,600 MW, increasing the total program capacity to 3,200 MW
  • Increase the Greenfield Subtractor by 2.5x
  • Expand ineligible land use areas to include Priority Habitat, Core Habitat and Critical Natural Landscape for projects that are not Category 1, subject to certain limited exceptions
  • Expand eligibility criteria for low-income areas and create a set aside for low-income projects, while ensuring municipal aggregation community solar
  • Expand the definition of public entity projects and increase its adder
  • Create a set aside for midsize projects that are between 25 kW and 500 kW
  • Require energy storage on all projects over 500kW
  • Strengthen consumer protection provisions

In addition, due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on the solar industry, DOER is offering an extension of six months to all Solar Tariff Generation Unit, including any projects that submit their applications before July 1, 2020.

DOER will be conducting a virtual hearing on May 13, 2020 from 10AM-12PM for interested entities to provide verbal comments on the emergency regulations.  DOER will accept written comments until May 22, 2020.

If you have questions about the new SMART Program provisions or wish to provide comments on the emergency regulations and accompanying guidelines, please contact James AveryAndrew KaplanMerrill Kramer or Sarah Tracy.