The State of Massachusetts is a national leader when it comes to solar energy with over 100,000 projects and more than 2,5000 MWH installed in recent years. The Smart program is the short term for Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target, which is an incentive program designed to help solar projects grow. The program’s main focus is to finance, to double the program’s capacity, and to expand eligibility criteria for low-income solar projects. In addition, the Smart program encourages people to adopt energy storage products. With the new regulations, the SMART program doubled its capacity and will support an additional capacity of 1,600 MW. The total new capacity will be 3,200 MW.

According to the data from the Massachusetts Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), the new rules will have a big impact on the current solar workforce. Currently, more than 4,000 solar jobs in Massachusetts, representing more than 50% of the solar workforce, are expected to be lost through the 2020 summer due to COVID-19. New rules will help the solar industry with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic where everything has stopped and also will help the state meet its climate goals.

The new SMART regulations had positive feedback from Nathan Phelps, regulatory director for Vote Solar, and from the Coalition for Community Solar Access. On the other hand, new clean energy regulations have negative effects on nearly 80 solar energy projects.  As a result, new regulations make nearly 90% of land in Massachusetts unavailable for ground-based solar panels arrays. Community solar are the ones to be impacted the most since 80 solar projects would be halted by the state’s new rules. As a result, the state can lose nearly $731 million in solar investment since most sites are on “ineligible” lands.

The state is not yet setting the pace it needs to meet its emissions reduction targets. Solar energy will be a critical component to getting there. On July 10, 2020, DOER filed the final version of the SMART Regulations with the Secretary of State. These changes will complete the emergency regulation process for the SMART program. Below, you can find the updated regulations as filed.

You can find out more about the program by clicking on the link here.

Would you like to know how you can benefit from the new rules?

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