The RPS Solar Carve-Out II is a market-based incentive program designed to support residential, commercial, public, and non-profit entities in developing new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity across the Commonwealth. The program was developed over the course of 2013 – 2014 and went into effect on April 25, 2014. The program seeks to build on the success of the original RPS Solar Carve-Out Program and is designed to support the market until 1,600 MW of PV capacity has been installed statewide.
DOER's goals and objectives for the RPS Solar Carve-Out II include the following:
- Provide economic support and market conditions to maintain and expand PV installations in MA
- Control ratepayer costs
- Maintain robust, progressive growth across installation sectors and manage growth to reach 1,600 MW by 2020
- Maintain competitive market of diverse PV developers, without undue burdens of entry
- Address financing barriers limiting residential and non-profit direct ownership, without compromising third-party ownership model
- Minimize regulatory complexity and maintain flexibilities to respond to changing conditions
To participate in the RPS Solar Carve-Out II, solar photovoltaic Generation Units needed to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Have a capacity of 6 MW DC or less per parcel of land
- Be interconnected to the distribution system in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which includes municipal light districts
- Use some generation on-site and be interconnected to the utility grid
- Have a Commercial Operation Date of January 1, 2013 or later.
Generating SREC IIs and the Role of NEPOOL GIS (New England Power Pool Generation Information System)
Electricity produced by qualified solar PV systems is broken into two products:
1) The electricity production that is used on-site or delivered to the grid.
2) The positive environmental attributes associated with this clean energy production.
SREC IIs represent the second product. One SREC II is created each time a solar PV system generates 1 MWh (or 1000 kWh) of SREC II qualified generation. The SREC II is minted electronically and created quarterly in the generator's account at NEPOOL GIS, following the verification of the generation by an Independent Verifier. MassCEC’s Production Tracking System (PTS) acts as the Independent Verifier of all production data for both the Solar Carve-Out and Solar Carve-Out II Programs.
If a PV system Owner has a designated aggregator, their SREC IIs will be deposited into the aggregator's account. Each SREC II has a unique serial number assigned to it that carries information about where and when it was generated.
Generators can sell their SREC IIs to buyers that need to meet a regulatory compliance requirement. They can also sell them to voluntary markets or "retire" their credits as a means of voluntarily supporting solar power.
Projects under the RPS Solar Carve-Out II Program are each assigned to a particular Market Sector as follows:
|Market Sector||Generation Unit Type||SREC Factor|
|A||1. Generation Units with a capacity of <=25 kW DC|
2. Solar Canopy Generation Units
3. Emergency Power Generation Units
4. Community Shared Solar Generation Units
5. Low or Moderate Income Housing Generation Units
|B||1. Building Mounted Generation Units|
2. Ground mounted Generation Units with a capacity > 25 kW DC with 67% or more of the electric output on an annual basis used by an on-site load
|C||1. Generation Units sited on Eligible Landfills|
2. Generation Units sited on Brownfields
3. Ground mounted Generation Units with a capacity of <= 650 kW with less than 67% of the electrical output on an annual basis used by an on-site load.
|Managed Growth||Unit that does not meet the criteria of Market Sector A, B, or C.||0.7|
Individual projects will be assigned an SREC Factor that corresponds with the Market Sector they fall under. This SREC Factor will determine the percentage of the production output from their PV system that is eligible to generate SREC IIs. For example, a project that falls under Market Sector C will generate 0.8 SREC IIs for every MWh that it generates. The remaining 0.2 MWh will be tracked at NEPOOL GIS, but will automatically be retired on behalf of the generator and will not be usable for RPS compliance in Massachusetts or any other state RPS program.
SREC II Frequently Asked Questions Guideline
The following Guideline provides answers and explanations to a number of frequently asked questions: SREC II FAQ Guideline
SREC II Assurance of Qualification Guideline
The Assurance of Qualification Guideline was revised and put out for public comment on January 5, 2016. The final version of the Guideline is: Assurance of Qualification Guideline. DOER received the following eight comments in response to the Guideline changes:
- Comment Borrego
- Comment Carbon Finance Strategies file size 2MB
- Comment Nexamp
- Comment Northeast Solar
- Comment Pope Energy
- Comment Soltage
- Comment SunEdison
SREC II Compliance Obligation and Market Trading
All regulated and competitive Retail Electricity Suppliers that serve the Massachusetts load (also known as Load-Serving Entities) need SREC IIs to meet the RPS Solar Carve-Out II compliance obligation (Municipal Light Districts are exempted). These entities also have NEPOOL GIS accounts. Once SREC II generators (sellers) and Retail Electricity Suppliers (buyers) execute a financial deal (bilaterally or through brokers, either in the spot market or under a long-term contract), both parties accept the transfer of SREC IIs from one GIS account to the other.
Retail Electricity Suppliers submit Annual Compliance Filings to DOER, in order to demonstrate that they have ownership of sufficient SREC IIs to meet their compliance obligation or have submitted Alternative Compliance Payments to meet any shortfall.
Important Dates for the RPS Solar Carve-Out II Program
|January 15||SREC IIs from Quarter 3 of the previous calendar year are minted at the NEPOOL GIS|
|April 15||SREC IIs from Quarter 4 of previous calendar year are minted at NEPOOL GIS|
|May 16 - June 15||Solar Credit Clearinghouse Auction Account II open for deposit of SREC IIs|
|July 1||Compliance Filings due from Retail Electric Suppliers|
|July 15||SREC IIs from Quarter 1 of current calendar year are minted at NEPOOL GIS|
|July 31||Auction held no later than this date, if the auction does not clear DOER shall conduct a new auction within three business days|
|August 30||The Minimum Standard for the following year shall be announced by DOER not later than this day. The Managed Growth Capacity Block for the Compliance Year two years in the future must also be announced.|
|October 15||SREC IIs from Quarter 2 of the current calendar year are minted at NEPOOL GIS|