ORIGINAL REPORTING: Massachusetts Plans For A Solar Future
Can new tariff models help Massachusetts solve the rooftop solar compensation puzzle?; Getting past the usual debates on net metering may depend on yet-unproven rooftop solar incentives
Herman K. Trabish, Dec. 8, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: This new approach to supporting solar was approved.
Massachusetts lawmakers, weary of fights to protect the existing net energy metering (NEM) and solar renewable energy credit (SREC) incentives, passed Chapter 75 of the Acts of 2016. The bill ordered the “immediate” implementation of a successor tariff. The new policy must support “a stable and equitable solar market at a reasonable cost to ratepayers.” The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and distributed energy resources (DER) stakeholders developed a way to meet the Act’s dictates by reconciling the competing interests through as-yet untested distributed solar policies.
At least three crucial questions, still unresolved in solar policy debates across the country, could be answered by Massachusetts’ new policies. One is how to calculate a perceived cost shift. Another is how to value solar generation sent to the grid. The third is how to equitably distribute credits for a solar array’s output to offsite subscribers. The DOER’s leading objective for its successor tariff is to maintain “robust growth” for each solar sector, while also moving away from fights over retail rate NEM. The Department also wants to ensure there are adequate incentives to expand access to solar through community shared solar and programs for low-income electricity consumers. Three further objectives of the stakeholder-driven process are to provide incentives for the co-location of solar and energy storage, formulate accepted solar project siting guidelines, and expand ownership of solar by residential and business customers… click here for more
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