The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) developed a Solar Carve-Out Program for the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). According to the 2008 Green Communities Act ( Section 32 of Chapter 169), Retail Electricity Suppliers must provide a specified percentage of electricity generated from renewable energy sources, including solar photovoltaic. DOER was charged with determining appropriate technologies, minimum standards, and an Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP) rate for the Carve-Out.

Stakeholder Process for Development of the Solar Carve-Out Program

  1. In August 2009, DOER members presented the original " straw proposal pdf format of    Solar RPS Carve-Out Program Straw Proposal - Stake  " for the Solar Carve-Out to its stakeholders. (Please note: Corrections were made to pages 11 and 12 of the proposal, after the public meeting in August and are included in the file above.)
  2. Stakeholders sent the following comments in response to DOER's presentation:
  3. The DOER Solar Team reviewed the comments received (below) and then drafted the price support mechanism pdf format of    MA RPS Solar Carve Out - Price Support Mechanism D  , which it presented pdf format of    MA Solar RPS Carve-Out - Price Support Mechanism -  to the public on October 23, 2009, at 100 Cambridge Street, Boston. Comments received:
  4. DOER presented the final design of the Solar Carve-Out pdf format of    solar-webinar-2009dec18.pdf  , named the Solar Credit Clearinghouse, in December 2009.
  5. DOER developed emergency regulations from this final design in January 2010.
  6. DOER held a public meeting March 2, 2010 to hear oral testimony on the emergency regulations that were filed in January. DOER also accepted written comments until March 9, 2010.
  7. On June 8, 2010, DOER filed its final changes to the RPS Class I revised regulation which replaces the Emergency Regulation issued on January 8, 2010. As required by statute, DOER filed the regulation with the Clerks of the Senate and the House of Representatives, who shall refer the regulation to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy.
  8. As part of the Economic Development Act (Chapter 240 of the Acts of 2010 - section 63) signed into law by the Governor August 5, 2010 , the cap for the SREC program was changed from 2 to 6 MW. In the interest of implementing this change as quickly as permissible and consistent with the state administrative procedures act, DOER held a public comment period from September 17-24, 2010. Stakeholders sent the following written comments in response to the proposed final regulation:
  9. DOER then made changes to the regulation based on comments received and filed the final regulation with the Secretary of State on December 20, 2010. A copy of the final regulation can be found on the Ongoing Public Rulemaking Process page.
  10. Solar ACP Rate Schedule Guideline

    Solar ACP Guideline pdf format of    Solar ACP Guideline

    After carefully reviewing the public comments that were received, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) published a Guideline that establishes a rolling 10-year Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP) Rate Schedule for the RPS Solar Carve-out. The schedule maintains the ACP Rate at its current level through Compliance Year 2013, and then reduces the Rate at 5% per year. As indicated, DOER will announce by January 31 of each year the Solar ACP Rate for the Compliance Year ten years later, so that a 10 year forward schedule is maintained. (For example, by January 31, 2012, DOER will announce the Solar ACP Rate for Compliance Year 2022.) The announcement of this Rate will follow a review of the proposed Rate by stakeholders.

    The ACP Rate Schedule was established with consideration of price levels necessary to maintain robust solar development, while protecting ratepayers from unnecessary cost impacts.

    Process for Implementing Solar ACP Rate Schedule

    DOER will commence a rulemaking to revise 225 CMR 14.00 with limited scope to integrate the Solar ACP Rate Schedule into the Solar Carve-Out provisions as substitute for the current section 225 CMR 14.08(3)(b)2 that provides DOER the discretion to reduce the Rate annually.

    10-year Forward Schedule

    Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP) Rate
    MA Solar Carve-Out
    RPS Program 225 CMR 14.00

    Compliance YearACP Rate per MWh
    2022 and afteradded no later than January 31, 2012 (and annually thereafter) following stakeholder review

    Stakeholder Comments on Proposed Forward Schedule for Solar Carve-Out ACP Rate

    1. On August 2, 2011, DOER presented a proposed forward schedule for the Solar Carve-Out ACP Rate to Solar Carve-Out stakeholders.

    2. Stakeholders sent the following comments in response to DOER's proposal:

    Solar Carve-out Regulation Finalized

    The Department of Energy Resources has completed its final revisions to 225 CMR 14.00 pertaining to the implementation of the Solar Carve-Out of the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard. These final revisions reflect comments received back from the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, as well as public stakeholders on the regulation filed on August 20, 2010.

    RPS Class I Regulation - Tracked Changes pdf format of    RPS Class I Regulation - Tracked Changes

    Please note: All documents listed on this web page are unofficial and provided for informational purposes only. The only official version of each regulation is published in the Massachusetts Register, which is available through the State Bookstore.

    The final revisions include the following important changes:

    1. The revision includes (as provided in the August 20 version) the increase in the maximum size of eligible solar PV projects from 2 MW to 6 MW per parcel of land. This change reflects the amendment to the Green Communities Act of 2008 contained Chapter 63 of the Economic Development Act (Chapter 240 of the Acts of 2010).

    2. Modifications have been made in the provisions contained in 225 CMR 14.07(2) which determine the annual adjustment to the Total Compliance Obligation and, consequently, the Minimum Standard. Based on stakeholder comment and the Department's internal analysis, issues were appropriately raised about the ability of the adjustment, as provided in the August 20 regulation, to quickly re-stabilize SREC supply and demand particularly after a period of imbalance. The Department determined the stability of the market dynamics could be much improved by changing the formula to account for the past growth rate not by the difference in the Total Compliance Obligation over the past two years, but instead by the difference in the SRECs Generated over the past two years. This modification more rationally bases the solar installation growth rate on actual market activity, instead of the demand growth regulated by the Department, and hence allows for the new annual Total Compliance Obligation to more quickly adjust to the market conditions.

    Under the new formula, the SRECs Generated two compliance years earlier will be based on actual data available to the Department and the public. However, for the SRECs Generated in the prior compliance year (which is the year in which the adjustment will be calculated and announced each August), the SRECs Generated will be based on an analysis by the Department and made available to the public on projected SRECs Generated by the end of the year. (Once announced, the Total Compliance Obligation will not be updated based on actual SRECs Generated determined later.)

    The provisions in 225 CMR 14.07(2) have also been slightly modified to more carefully and appropriately adjust the Total Compliance Obligation after the 400 MW cap is reached to wind down the program in a stable and predictable manner.

    3) In Section 225 CMR 14.06(3)(b), the regulation is revised to required that all Solar Carve-Out projects in excess of 1 MW obtain all applicable state and local permits before they will be awarded a Statement of Qualification. This revision will reduce the amount of solar capacity qualified by the Department but still under early development, and thereby reduce the uncertainty as to when the 400 MW cap will be reached, and enable the Department to better project SREC generation each year.

    4) The Department has carefully reviewed and revised the body of the RPS regulation to upgrade the consistency of the language, grammar and formatting.

This information is provided by the Department of Energy Resources.