The Massachusetts DOER has released its revised regulations amending the State’s RPS to implement the next phase of support for solar in the Commonwealth. Redlined pages are available here.
From here the regulations will be reviewed at most for 30 days by the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy which may provide comments to DOER. After review of any such comments by DOER, DOER may make additional changes in response to those comments and, thereafter, the regulations will become final.
As for the content, the Commonwealth has significantly broadened its definition of a “Community Shared Solar Generation Unit.” Previous drafts of the regulations had required direct ownership of the facility by participants in the project, none of whom were permitted to receive the beneficial output of more than 25kW of the project’s capacity.
As revised, the definition no longer requires all participants to be owners of the project; receipt of power or net metering credits will now suffice. This change will significantly expand the commercial and financial structures that would qualify as “community shared.”
The revised definition also now permits the participation of two offtakers who each receive in excess of that 25kW measure but who together may not account for more than half of the capacity of the project.
With these changes, larger systems with good-credit ‘anchor’ customers engaged under net metering credit agreements may now participate in “community shared” structures, enabling more numerous smaller participants to fill out the remaining half of the capacity of the project.
The favored SREC Factor provided to these projects should result in some interesting (hopefully straightforward, replicable and successful) business models for community solar in Massachusetts, potentially challenging the now dominant (formerly emergent) third-party owned rooftop model.