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Regulations required the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to evaluation the state’s SMART program after 400 MW of solar capability was accepted into the program. The evaluation is now full, in line with the Greenfield Recorder. On September 5, DOER issued a straw proposal with changes to the program. This information got here a day after Vote Solar released a report saying DOER should triple the SMART program’s megawatts to succeed in the state’s climate targets.

DOER is now accepting input from stakeholders and the general public. Solar advocacy teams weighed in on the proposed changes.

The Solar Energy Industries Association expressed combined emotions.

“DOER’s proposal reflects a thoughtful review of the most pressing challenges and questions that have emerged during the initial phase of the SMART program,” stated David Gahl, senior director of state affairs, northeast, at SEIA, in an announcement. “Among the changes, DOER is addressing implementation difficulties and is encouraging energy storage use and solar systems serving businesses and on-site energy needs. While we are pleased to see this progress, significant concerns remain. Most importantly, the 800-MW expansion is insufficient — it will not meet near-term customer demand, provide certainty to solar firms, or achieve the Commonwealth’s clean energy goals.”

The neighborhood solar sector was not happy with the replace. The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) issued an announcement saying it’s involved concerning the DOER’s land use proposals and the small dimension of the solar program enlargement within the draft:

“In specific, neighborhood solar suppliers are involved that they might be successfully ending essentially the most broadly accessible a part of the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program.

“’As the Commonwealth strives to satisfy its formidable climate change targets, the proposal laid out at the moment makes assembly that problem tougher,’ stated Jeff Cramer, government director for CCSA. ‘At the same time, we are concerned that DOER’s proposed changes will make solar costlier within the state and successfully eradicate a critically essential instrument for extra equitable solar entry.’

“With 3-out-of-4 Massachusetts households not appropriate for rooftop solar, neighborhood solar is important to increasing entry to solar energy no matter housing sort or revenue degree. Community solar is a vital part of the ‘all-of-the-above strategy’ wanted to attain Massachusetts’ renewable portfolio normal goal of 35% by 2030 and to be on observe in direction of the 80% greenhouse gasoline emissions reductions targets by 2050.

“CCSA recommends that DOER think about the next changes to assist the SMART program serve extra clients whereas guaranteeing applicable solar farm siting:

  • Revise and restructure greenfield subtractor provisions to make sure neighborhood solar stays a viable and available possibility for individuals who can not get rooftop solar
  • Ensure that land use proposals are fastidiously calibrated and commensurate with observable and documented land use changes
  • Review and revise the timing of implementing these provisions to make sure that mature tasks presently below growth can proceed below present guidelines to keep away from pointless market disruption
  • Increase the state’s solar aim by no less than 3,200 megawatts for SMART to make sure that Massachusetts can meet its present climate change obligations
  • Support native cities and cities in creating zoning and siting standards that match their respective neighborhood wants, slightly than a one-size-fits-all strategy set by the state.
  • Ensure that farmers can proceed to host large-scale, floor mounted solar tasks to assist Massachusetts farms stay economically viable.

“’We recognize that this proposal is a first draft and we continue to sift through the details,’ Cramer continued. ‘That is why we look forward to engaging with policymakers to create a balanced solution that will continue to grow community solar, expand access to underserved communities and keep Massachusetts as a clean energy leader.’”

The public can submit feedback on the program by emailing doer.smart@mass.gov with the topic line “400 MW Review Public Comments” by Friday, September 20.

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