The DOER and the state’s electric utilities launched the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program to create incentive for energy consumers to integrate solar-plus-storage technology.
SMART is a 1600 MW AC “declining block” program that provides fixed base compensation rates for solar projects up to 5MW AC, with additional incentives for projects that incorporate energy storage and those that install their solar panels on their rooftops. The declining block program is structured so that as project applications are submitted and the blocks of available capacity fill up, compensation rates for solar-plus-storage projects will decrease. Therefore, it is important for potential participants to act quickly, as application timing will have a significant impact on project economics.
Due to the structure of these incentives, Enel X can offer turnkey systems at no upfront cost to the customer.
What makes the SMART program different than previous solar incentive programs in Massachusetts?
The prior solar incentive in Massachusetts offered Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC) for every megawatt- hour of power that a customer’s solar project created, which they could then sell to utilities.
SRECs created incentive for energy consumers to create solar power and reduce their consumption of electricity from traditional sources, such as coal or natural gas.
However, the financial value of the SREC varied based on supply and demand, and was volatile as a result. This made it difficult to project the long-term value of a solar project based on the value of the incentive, and drove up the cost to finance solar projects. By contrast, the SMART program offers fixed incentives for 20 years.
Unlike the SREC program, SMART also offers adders that defray the cost of investment in battery storage, making
it easier for energy consumers to store their self-generated solar power and use it at strategic times to create new revenue streams. By comparison, standalone solar PV only operates during daylight hours.