ASTGU Guideline and Public Comments
On April 12, 2022, DOER finalized the Guideline Regarding the Definition of Agricultural Solar Tariff Generation Units for the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program.
Key changes made to the guideline include:
- Sets a program goal of 80MW AC capacity for Agricultural Solar Tariff Generation Units (ASTGU)
- Clarifies requirements for compatible sunlight
- Sets the maximum AC rated capacity to 5 MW
- Sets a DC to AC capacity ratio of 2:1 and caps projects to 7.5MW DC
- Establishes requirements on newly created farmland including:
- Must be in agricultural production prior to applying
- Defining and allowing conversion of fallow farmland for ASTGU
- Prohibiting the clearing or conversion of forest land
- Establishes requirements for Agricultural Plans including:
- Production requirements for hay and grazing of animals
- Enabling transition to new commodities
- Establishes a waiver process if anticipated yields are decreased
- Clarifies requirements for failure to submit annual reports
- Sets an effective date of May 15, 2022 for the guidelines on all initial requests for pre-determination
On October 12, 2021 DOER made a technical correction to the revised Agricultural Solar Tariff Generation Unit Guideline. The change from October 6, 2021 includes a grammatical change on the ASTGU goals and a clarification under eligible farmland for newly created farmland. See below the redlined changes from the version posted on October 6, 2021
On October 6, 2021 DOER released a revised Agricultural Solar Tariff Generation Unit Guideline. The draft guideline and summary of proposed changes are:
Guideline Regarding the Definition of Agricultural Solar Tariff Generation Units - Identifies goals, updates maximum rated capacity, provides additional information on eligible farmland, an agricultural plan, annual reporting, and clarity on the process for exceptions.
DOER accepted written comments on these guidelines until Wednesday, October 27, 2021. Comments received by DOER can be found below.
On October 15, 2019, the Department issued proposed changes to the Guideline Regarding the Definition of Agricultural Solar Tariff Generation Units (“Guideline”). The Department collected public comments until November 6, 2019. Following the review of these comments, DOER has drafted a straw proposal of potential changes to the Guideline. The straw proposal for the Guideline can be found here.
The straw proposal removes many of the changes to the technical and application requirements that were proposed in October 2019. Instead, the straw proposal maintains many of the requirements in the existing version of the Guideline, dated April 26, 2018. Two areas that the Department contemplates modifying pertain to project size and opportunities for third-party certification.
The Department collected public comments on the straw proposal until Friday, October 30, 2020.
General information regarding ASTGUs can be found on the main SMART Program website here.