Historical Development of the Solar Carve-Out II

The histrocial development of the Solar Carve Out II program, including programmatic and regulation changes.

Introduction

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.

To this end, DOER developed the original Solar Carve-Out Program, which qualified solar photovoltaic Generation Units between January 2010 and April 2014. DOER further took steps beginning in early 2013 to expand the Solar Carve-Out Program to meet this newly established goal for the Commonwealth of 1,600 MW of PV by 2020. This resulted in the creation of the Solar Carve-Out II Program and the promulgation of an updated version of the RPS Class I Regulation on April 25, 2014.

1. Public Stakeholder Meeting – March 22, 2013

DOER held its first stakeholder meeting regarding the development of an expansion to the Solar Carve-Out on March 22, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to noon in the Gardner Auditorium of the Massachusetts State House in Boston. At this Stakeholder Meeting, DOER presented its observations of the current market, post-400 MW policy objectives, policy design framework options, and significant detail on policy directions under consideration. DOER sought stakeholder input and discussion during this meeting on key policy issues. At this meeting, DOER requested that stakeholders provide written comments on the initial presentation given by DOER.

DOER posted its presentation that guided this stakeholder discussion:

Post-400 MW Solar Policy Development Presentation

Public Comments Received

DOER received the following comments prior to the April 8, 2013 deadline:

Public Comments on Stakeholder Presentation

2. Solar Policy Stakeholder Meeting – June 7

DOER held a second stakeholder meeting from 10:00am to noon on June 7, 2013 in the Gardner Auditorium in the State House in Boston. At the public meeting, DOER presented its proposed policy design for the successor program to the original Solar Carve-Out Program.

DOER accepted comments on program design outlined in the following presentation through June 21, 2013.

Stakeholder Meeting on June 7

Public Comments Received

DOER received the following comments prior to the June 21, 2013 deadline:

Public Comments on Stakeholder Presentation

3. Solar Policy Stakeholder Meeting – August 12

DOER held a third stakeholder meeting from 1:00pm to 3:00pm on August 12, 2013 in the Gardner Auditorium in the State House in Boston. At the stakeholder meeting, DOER presented its updated program design for the next phase of the Solar Carve-Out Program (SREC-II).

DOER's presentation from the meeting is posted here

DOER accepted comments on the post-400 MW program design outlined in the following presentation through August 26, 2013.

Public Comments Received

DOER received the following comments prior to the August 26, 2013 deadline:

Stakeholder Comments - August 12, 2013 Meeting Folder 1

Stakeholder Comments - August 12, 2013 Meeting Folder 2

4. Technical Support – Solar Policy Consultants

To inform the development of the SREC-II program design, DOER hired a team of consultants to support specific Tasks. The team included The Cadmus Group, Inc., Sustainable Energy Advantage, LLC, La Capra Associates, and Meister Consultants Group. The Consultants were asked to provide analysis and reports on the following tasks. The Consultants were not asked to provide recommendations, but to provide support to inform decisions to be made by DOER.

Task 1: Evaluation of Current Solar Costs and Needed Incentive Levels Across Market Segments
Final Report

Task 2: Comparative Evaluation of Carve-out Policy with Other Policy Alternatives
Final Report

Task 3a: Evaluation of 400 MW (SREC-I) Program in Meeting its Objectives
Final Report

Task 3b: Analysis of Economic Costs and Benefits of Solar Program (SREC-II)
Final Report

Task 4: Comparative Regional Economic Impacts of Solar Ownership/Financing Alternatives
Final Report

Technical Session: DOER scheduled a Technical Session for interested stakeholders to review these Reports with the Consultants. The Technical Session took place on Monday, October 7 from 1:00-3:00 pm in the Gardner Auditorium of the Massachusetts State House.

5. DOER Commissioner Sylvia presents final design of SREC-II Program

At the December 12, 2013 New England Electricity Restructuring Roundtable, Commissioner Mark Sylvia provided the following presentation, which provided the key elements of the final design of the SREC-II program. DOER also announced its intention to file the regulation soon and commence the rulemaking process. Commissioner Sylvia Presents Final Design of SREC-II Program

6. Regulatory Changes to 225 CMR 14.00 RPS Class I

DOER commenced the formal rulemaking process to implement the RPS Solar Carve-Out II program by filing the draft regulation with the Secretary of State on December 20, 2013. The rulemaking also included other non-solar changes to the RPS Class I program to address previously identified needs to improve the program design. As part of the rulemaking process, DOER accepted public comments and held a public hearing.

The changes to the regulation also require DOER to establish three separate Guidelines, which were posted for stakeholder review as they became available.

Public Hearing

DOER held a public hearing on the proposed regulation on January 24, 2014 in the Gardner Auditorium, Massachusetts State House, Boston, MA 02133 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.

Public Hearing Audio

Public Comments Received

DOER received the following comments as of January 29, 2014:

225 CMR 14.00 Public Comments Folder 1


225 CMR 14.00 Public Comments Folder 2

7. RPS Class I Draft Regulation Filed with Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy

On February 11, 2014, DOER’s updated draft regulation was referred to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy (TUE) for its 30-day review, under the requirements of G.L.C. 25A s12.

In preparing the updated draft regulation, DOER considered the many comments on the proposed draft regulation received at the Public Hearings and through the written comment process.The proposed draft regulation provided to the Legislature is available below.

225 CMR 14 00 Draft SREC-II Reg 020414 tracked changes

Joint Committee Comments on Draft Regulation

The committee on TUE provided SRECII Regs TUE Comment Final 3-10-14 on March 10, 2014.

8. RPS Class I Draft Regulation Promulgated

Following the receipt of the comments on the draft regulation from the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy, DOER made its final revisions to the draft regulation and filed the final version with the Secretary of State of April 11, 2014.

The final regulation was then promulgated in the State Register on April 25, 2014.

RPS Class I Regulation, 225 CMR 14.00

9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Guideline

Following the release of a draft and a two week public comment period, DOER published an FAQ Guideline on July 29, 2014, which was intended to answer various questions related to eligibility and implementation of the program, in particular certain rules around Community Shared Solar Generation Units.

10. Guideline Regarding the Definition of Brownfield

Following the release of a draft and a two week public comment period, DOER published a Guideline Regarding the Definition of Brownfield on September 8, 2014, developed in consultation with MassDEP, which was intended to clarify the process for demonstrating that a site meets the definition of Brownfield in 225 CMR 14.00.

11. Guideline Regarding the Definition of Low or Moderate Income Housing Generation Units

Following the release of a draft and a two week public comment period, DOER published a Guideline Regarding the Definition of Low or Moderate Income Housing Generation Units on March 27, 2015, which was intended to clarify the process for demonstrating that a project meets the criteria to qualify as a low or moderate income housing under 225 CMR 14.00.

12. SREC II Emergency Rulemaking

On April 8, 2016, DOER filed an Emergency Regulation with the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office to address recent developments in the state’s solar PV market. Recognizing that a long-term sustainable solution will take time to develop and that many projects are in advanced stages of development, the emergency regulation was intended to address market uncertainty and establish a smooth transition from SREC II to the next incentive program.

225 CMR 14.00 Draft Emergency Regulation - Tracked Changes

Public Hearing

DOER held a public hearing on the proposed regulation on May 20, 2016 in the Tower Auditorium, MassART, 621 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.

Public Hearing Audio

Public Comments Received

DOER received the following comments on the emergency regulation as of May 27, 2016:

SREC II Emergency Regulation- Written Comments

13. Final RPS Class I Regulation Promulgated

On July 1, 2016, DOER completed its emergency rulemaking by promulgating a final regulation in response to public comments:

225 CMR 14.00 Regulation - Final

14. SREC II Reduced SREC Factor Guideline

After accepting public comments on an earlier draft, DOER issued a revised Guideline on SREC Factors and two other accompanying Guidelines on August 31, 2016, subject to the provisions of 225 CMR 14.05(9)(l)5.

15. Further Extension and Reductions to SREC Factors

Following the announcement of a further extension to the SREC II program beyond that provided in April 2016, DOER issued a revised Guideline on SREC Factors and two other accompanying Guidelines on March 21, 2017, subject to the provisions of 225 CMR 14.05(9)(l)5.

Final SREC Factor Guideline

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