Solar Energy

Hi Will,

I have been researching SRECs for MassAudubon’s.  To date we have 250 kW of installed capacity around the state of which  44 kW qualify for the MA solar carveout.  I learned thatoin January 1, 2011 the DOER reduced, by over 8%, the penalty that producers pay for each MW below the state’s mandated solar quota (ACP).  Their stated reason was that the cost of solar installation had declined since 2010.  This makes no sense to me.  Massachusetts has a miniscule amount of installed solar generation, way below the goals set by DOER. The solar carveout is supposed to to encourage more solar, quickly.  Reducing the incentive payment does the opposite: it reduces the finanacial incentive anyone, including the utilites, have to install more solar and; it introduces uncertainity into the pricing system, another disincentive, as well as  driving down the price an SREC aggregator would offer for a fixed price contract many producers, like MassAudubon, would like.

What do you think?  If I am correct in my analysis is there anything the legislature can do to stablize the ACP going forward?  Note that New Jersey is the state with the second greatest installed solar capacity largely because they have a fixed and favorable price for the ACP.

One reply on “Solar Energy”

  1. Yes, I am aware of this.

    This is something that I would have an appearance of conflict of interest in voting on — my family has a solar installation on our own roof and we are also selling SREC’s on it. So, my interests are aligned with yours. I think I would be allowed to vote having made the disclosure, but I’d want to check.

    My understanding of the philosophy of DOER on this is to give subsidies sufficient to nurse the technology forward with the belief that those subsidies will go down over time. It’s all part of one big package of financial issues that they are balancing with the utilities. My gut instinct is that the legislature probably doesn’t want to step into the middle of that more once every few years — we did the Green Communities Act in 2008 and people are still working through the consequences of all that.

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