Massachusetts/EZ Policies

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EZ Policies for Massachusetts

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Download EZ Policies for Massachusetts CSV (rows 1 - 57)

Policy Place Policy Type Active Implementing Sector Summary
Alternative Energy and Energy Conservation Patent Exemption (Corporate) (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Industry Recruitment/Support Yes State/Territory

Massachusetts offers a corporate excise tax deduction for (1) any income -- including royalty income -- received from the sale or lease of a U.S. patent deemed beneficial for energy conservation or alternative energy development by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, and (2) any income received from the sale or lease of personal or real property or materials manufactured in Massachusetts and subject to the approved patent. The deduction is effective for up to five years from the date of issuance of the U.S. patent or the date of approval by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, whichever expires first.

Alternative Energy and Energy Conservation Patent Exemption (Personal) (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Industry Recruitment/Support Yes State/Territory

Massachusetts offers a personal income tax deduction for any income received from the sale of a patent or royalty income from a patent deemed beneficial for energy conservation or alternative energy development. The Massachusetts commissioner of energy resources determines if a patent is eligible. This deduction is unique among incentives in that it targets patents and not simply real property.

An Act Relative to Environmental Cleanup and Promoting the Redevelopment of Contaminated Property - The “Brownfields” Act (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Corporate Tax Incentive Yes State/Province The Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides liability relief and financial incentives aimed to encourage cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites. Financial incentives include encouraging private sector lending to developers, low-interest loans and grants for site assessment and cleanup, and tax credits.
Chicopee Electric Light - Residential Solar Rebate Program (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Utility Rebate Program Yes Utility Chicopee Electric Light offered rebates to residential customers who install solar photovoltaic systems on their homes. Customer rebates are $0.50 per watt for a maximum of $2,500 per installation.

Customers are required to follow Chicopee Electric Light's Distributed Generation Policy and should refer to the solar rebate application for additional requirements.
City of Boston - Green Power Purchasing (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Green Power Purchasing Yes Local In April 2007, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino issued an executive order that established a green power purchasing goal of 11% for the city government, effective immediately, and a goal of 15% by 2012. The executive order also requires all existing municipal properties to be evaluated for the feasibility of installing solar, wind, bio-energy, combined heat and power (CHP), and green roofs. (The executive order updated an announcement by Mayor Menino in 2006 that the city government would purchase 8.6% of its power from renewable energy sources as part of its EPA Green Power Partnership.)

The executive order also contains goals for greenhouse gas emissions reductions, recycling, green building, vehicle fuel efficiency, biofuels use, and the development of the Boston Energy Alliance, a non-profit corporation dedicated to implementing large-scale energy efficiency, renewable energy, and demand response projects citywide.

In April 2008, Mayor Menino announced that the city will install over $1 million of solar thermal and PV on four municipal buildings by 2009. This announcement is part of the Solar Boston program to promote the development of large-scale solar energy market growth throughout Boston, and to position the city to increase the amount of installed solar capacity from 500 kilowatts (kW) at the time of the announcement to 25 megawatts (MW) by 2015.
Climate Action Plan (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Climate Policies Yes State/Province In August 2008, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), making Massachusetts one of the first states in the nation to move forward with a comprehensive regulatory program to address climate change.

The GWSA requires the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA), in consultation with other state agencies and the public, to set economy-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals for Massachusetts that will achieve reductions of between 10 percent and 25 percent below statewide 1990 GHG emission levels by 2020, and 80 percent below statewide 1990 GHG emission levels by 2050. It is in this context that EOEEA presents the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020. Secretary Bowles has set that 2020 limit at 25 percent — and the Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020

contains the measures necessary to meet the limit.
Climate Protection and Green Economy Act, Global Warming Solutions Act (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Climate Policies Yes State/Province This Act requires the Department of Natural Resources to monitor and regulate the emissions of greenhouse gases in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to require emissions reporting and to establish a regional greenhouse gas registry. Emissions reporting is required from generation sources producing electricity that is consumed in the Commonwealth, as well as from all retail sellers of electricity.
Coal Mining Regulatory and Reclamation Act (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province These regulations aim to ensure that any coal mining or extraction will be conducted in a manner that will not significantly damage the environment or area of land affected. The Department of Environmental Protection has the authority to grant licenses for coal mining, to protect public health and environment quality, and oversee all reclamation procedures. Any proposed exploration or mining for coal requires a license, and these regulations describe application procedures, powers of the Commissioner of the Department in the event of an emergency, and the authority to call a special investigating commission, and rules pertaining to water quality. Applications for a license must include an environmental impact report, a comprehensive reclamation plan, and public hearings and announcements.
Commercial Solar Hot Water Financing Program (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Other Incentive Yes State/Territory The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and Paradigm Partners are offering a solar hot water financing program in order to meet MassCEC's objective of growing the commercial solar hot water industry in Massachusetts. Commercial and non-profit building owners can use the financing program to install solar hot water systems that heat water for the building's domestic, space or process heating needs. A variety of financing options will be available depending on the project, including power purchase agreements or energy service agreements. A third party will finance the construction, maintenance, and operating costs of the system, and the building owner will sign a long-term contract with the third-party owner. In order to be eligible for the program, the customer's utility must pay into the MassCEC Renewable Energy Trust Fund. Interested customers should use the contact below. Projects will be evaluated based on the suitability of the site, the commitment of the building owner, and the project's timeline relative to other proposed projects.
Commonwealth Hydropower Program (Massachusetts) Massachusetts State Grant Program Yes State/Territory Note: This program reopened March 15, 2013. There is $1,200,000 available for Round 5; applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funding is exhausted. See the program web site for application materials.

Through the Commonwealth Hydropower Initiative, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) offers grants for both feasibility studies and construction of hydroelectric facilities. Feasibility studies are capped the lesser of $40,000 or 80% of actual costs. Construction projects are capped at the lesser of $600,000, 50% of actual costs, or $1.00 per incremental kWh per year for projects that increase an existing system capacity. Hydropower facilities must have qualified (or be expected to qualify) for Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard. MassCEC is the administrator of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund, the state's clean energy fund.


Applicants must have and demonstrate site control (meaning that they have legal control of the project site, through executed agreement or selection to enter into an agreement). In addition, the project must demonstrate an additional 200,000 kilowatt hours/year (non-conduit feasibility grants) or 50,000 kWh/year (design and construction grants) increase in generation and have at least 20 years of useful life. Projects must have a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license or exemption, or a FERC order stating that the facility does not fall under FERC jurisdiction (not common), or the projects must be eligible for a conduit exemption. Projects that require new dams are not eligible.

Projects applying for feasibility funding must provide a 20% cost-share, while design and construction project applicants are responsible for at least 50% cost-share. It should be noted that applicants are encouraged to request less than the maximum allowed funding since cost effectiveness is considered in the application evaluations.

This is a competitive grant. All applications must meet minimum eligibility criteria and will be evaluated on the thoroughness of facility and project descriptions, compliance with dam safety regulations, satisfactory explanation of regulatory/licensing status, status with state renewable portfolio standard qualification and incremental energy production. Projects applying for Design and Construction grants will also be evaluated on economic analysis criteria, thoroughness of feasibility analysis, technical feasibility, efficiency and environmental benefits, development progress and time frame, risks identification and strategy for overcoming those, cost effectiveness, and potential benefits to state ratepayers. Awarded projects are required to meet project milestones, deliverables and reporting deadlines.

Projects must owned by commercial, industrial, institutional (including not-for-profit), or public entities served by one of the investor-owned electric distribution utilities in Massachusetts -- Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light (Unitil), Massachusetts Electric (National Grid), Nantucket Electric (National Grid), NSTAR Electric, or Western Massachusetts Electric -- that contribute to the Renewable Energy Trust. In addition, customers of any Municipal Light Plant (MLP) Department that pays into the Renewable Energy Trust are also eligible (see MassCEC's website for additional information on which MLP's have joined the Renewable Energy Trust Fund).

Applications must be submitted according to MassCEC format guidelines, both hard copies and electronic copies are required. See the program web site for details and for a complete application package.
Commonwealth Organics-to-Energy Program (Massachusetts) Massachusetts State Grant Program Yes State/Territory The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) offers a Commonwealth Organics-to-Energy grant program. Organics-to-Energy grants support the use of anaerobic digestion and other technologies that convert source-separated organic wastes into electricity and thermal energy.


Grants are available to electricity customers served by the following Massachusetts investor-owned electric utilities, which pay into the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund: Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light (Unitil), National Grid, NSTAR Electric and Western Massachusetts Electric. In addition, customers of certain municipal lighting plant (MLP) utilities are also eligible including Ashburnham, Holden, Holyoke, Russell, and Templeton.


There are three separate solicitations under this program. Each solicitation has specific eligibility and requirements, the information provided here is a summary only.


1. Technical Services/Technical Study Grants


Only public entities are eligible for the technical services grants. Up to $60,000 is available per grant and a 5% cost-share is required. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Specific eligible activities include:


  • Technical assistance in the development, evaluation and procurement of contracts through a Request for Qualifications/Request for Proposals process
  • Technical assistance for proposals to site organics-to energy facilities within a public entity's jurisdiction
  • Public engagement processes for matching community needs with organics processing options
  • Pre-feasibility studies for sites, generator clusters, or technical approaches to handling identified organic waste streams

2. Feasibility Studies


Both public and private (profit or not-for-profit) entities are eligible to apply. Activities supported include assessing feedstock, the technical and engineering feasibility of the project, interconnection requirements, identifying any community impacts or issues, among other activities. Up to $40,000 is available with a 5% cost share for public entities and 20% cost share for non-public entities.


3. Construction and Pilot Projects


Both public and private (profit or not-for-profit) entities are eligible to apply. Activities supported include designing, permitting, and construction as well as installation and/or commissioning of equipment. There are some key differences and eligibility requirements between "construction projects" and "pilot projects" and there are corresponding funding amounts available. Construction projects may be eligible for 25% of the total project costs, up to $400,000 and pilot projects may be eligible for 50% of the total project costs, up to $200,000.


MassCEC is accepting applications for all project types. Interested applicants must read full solicitations and are strongly encouraged to discuss projects with MassCEC staff prior to application submission.
Commonwealth Solar II Rebates (Massachusetts) Massachusetts State Rebate Program Yes State/Territory

Block 20 opened on October 7, 2014 and is the final funding block of the Commonwealth Solar II Program. See program website for more information.


Commonwealth Solar II, offered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), provides rebates for the installation of photovoltaic (PV) systems at residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and public facilities.* Commonwealth Solar II rebates are available to electricity customers served by the following Massachusetts investor-owned electric utilities: Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light (Unitil), National Grid, NSTAR Electric and Western Massachusetts Electric. In addition, customers of certain municipal lighting plant (MLP) utilities are now eligible including Ashburnham, Holden, Holyoke, Russell, and Templeton. Commercial projects are eligible for rebates for PV projects less than or equal to 15 kilowatts (kW) in capacity and the rebate will be based on the first 5 kW only. Funding is released in "blocks" every quarter. All rebate applications must be approved BEFORE the project installation begins.


Rebate amounts are based on the total PV system size per building, regardless of the number of electric meters in use and certain other characteristics of the project. The proposed Commonwealth Solar II rebate levels for residential and commercial PV systems are:

  • Base incentive: $0.25/watt
  • Adder for Massachusetts company components: $0.05/watt
  • Adder for moderate home value: $0.40/watt (applicable to residential projects only), or
  • Adder for moderate income: $0.40/watt (applicable to residential projects only)
  • Natural Disaster Relief Adder (see program manual for detailed eligibility requirements): $1.00/watt

The rebate is available to the system owner, which may or may not be the host customer. In the case where the system owner is a third-party owner serving a residential host customer, the project is treated as a commercial project (and eligible for the commercial rebate amounts only). Solar renewable-energy credits (SRECs) associated with system generation belong to the system owner and may be sold via the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) SREC program. Note: appropriate, approved tracking must be utilized in order to qualify to sell SRECs. MassCEC reserves the right to conduct post-installation inspections of PV projects prior to approval for payments.

System installers are responsible for the application process and securing necessary permits. MassCEC has developed an online application system (called PowerClerk) for pre-approved installers. Only online applications will be accepted. An energy-efficiency audit is generally required. Required documentation generally includes electric utility interconnection approval, an energy-efficiency audit, paid invoices or equivalent, and, if applicable, evidence that automated reporting is functional. It is recommended, but not required, that installers or their subcontractors obtain or seek to obtain North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) PV installer certification.

This summary does not capture all of the requirements of the Commonwealth Solar II program. The MassCEC provides program manuals as well as appendices with full program requirements and you must read those materials carefully.

The Commonwealth Solar II program summary report provides an ongoing tally of number of systems and kW installed in the state. The Commonwealth Solar II Program will end once funding for Block 20 is fully expended.

Commonwealth Wind Commercial Wind Program (Massachusetts) Massachusetts State Grant Program Yes State/Territory Note: The Development Grant solicitation is currently closed for this year.


Through the Commonwealth Wind Incentive Program – Commercial Wind Initiative the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) offers site assessment grants of services, feasibility study grants, and development grants and loans for commercial wind projects 2 MW or greater that will serve the whole-sale energy markets or for projects that do not qualify for net metering but provide on-site use. MassCEC is the administrator of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust (RET), the state's clean energy fund.

Projects must owned by commercial, industrial, or institutional (including not-for-profit or public) entities served by one of the investor-owned electric distribution utilities in Massachusetts -- Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light (Unitil), Massachusetts Electric (National Grid), Nantucket Electric (National Grid), NSTAR Electric, or Western Massachusetts Electric. In addition, customers of any Municipal Light Plant (MLP) Department that pays into the RET are eligible (see MassCEC's web site for additional information on which MLP's have joined the RET).


The site assessment grant is a grant of services. For public entities, there is no cost share. For non-public entities, the MassCEC requires a cost share of $1,500. The site assessment is intended to be the first step of many when planning a wind project. It is also required for additional MassCEC commercial wind grants. There is a specific framework determined for these services, with project timelines and responsibilities clearly defined. The entire site assessment process is designed to last 12 weeks.


The feasibility study grant analyzes all aspects of a project, including the technical, environmental, regulatory, and financial aspects. Public outreach and stakeholder engagement is required as part of the feasibility study. In addition, a detailed wind resource assessment is required and additional funding is available for that piece. Acoustic studies may qualify for additional funding and should follow MassCEC's Acoustic Methodology for Wind Projects. A public entity may apply for business planning grants, which take place after the feasibility study.


Finaly, development grants are now available for commercial wind projects. These grants may be used for activities such as permitting, evaluating environmental impacts, performing geotechnical or interconnection studies, and public outreach. Funding levels (with associated cost shares) are as follows:


  • Feasibility Study, Public Entity: $50,000 maximum grant with 5% cost share.
  • Feasibility Study, Non-Public Entity: $40,000 maximum grant with 20% cost share.
  • Wind Monitoring Equipment Adder, Public Entity: $20,000, with 5% cost share.
  • Wind Monitoring Equipment Adder, Non-Public Entity: $15,000 with 20% cost share.
  • Acoustic Study Grant, Public Entity: $15,000 maximum grant and no cost share.
  • Acoustic Study Grant, Non-Public Entity: $12,000 maximum grant with 20% cost share.
  • Business Planning Adder, Public Entity only: $15,000 maximum grant with 5% cost share.
  • Development Grant, Non-Public Entity only: $250,000 maximum grant with 40% cost share.
All applications must be submitted electronically. Interested applicants must review the full program documentation, solicitations and applications. This is only a brief overview.
Commonwealth Wind Community-Scale Initiative (Massachusetts) Massachusetts State Grant Program Yes State/Territory Note: The Development Grant solicitation is currently closed for this year.


Through the Commonwealth Wind Incentive Program – Community-Scale Wind Initiative the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) offers site assessment grants of services, feasibility study grants, design and construction grants, and development grants for community-scale wind projects greater than 100 kW that will serve a load at the project site (and typically net meter) or will serve load requirements of a host municipal light department. MassCEC is the administrator of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust (RET), the state's clean energy fund.


Projects must owned by commercial, industrial, or institutional (including not-for-profit or public) entities served by one of the investor-owned electric distribution utilities in Massachusetts -- Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light (Unitil), Massachusetts Electric (National Grid), Nantucket Electric (National Grid), NSTAR Electric, or Western Massachusetts Electric. In addition, customers of any Municipal Light Plant (MLP) Department that pays into the RET are eligible (see MassCEC's web site for additional information on which MLP's have joined the RET).


The site assessment grant is a grant of services. For public entities, there is no cost share. For non-public entities, the MassCEC requires a cost share of $1,500. The site assessment is intended to be the first step of many when planning a wind project. It is also required for additional MassCEC community-scale wind grants. There is a specific framework determined for these services, with project timelines and responsibilities clearly defined. The entire site assessment process is designed to last 12 weeks.


The feasibility study grant analyzes all aspects of a project, including the technical, environmental, regulatory, and financial aspects. Public outreach and stakeholder engagement is required as part of the feasibility study. In addition, a detailed wind resource assessment is required and additional funding is available for that piece. Acoustic studies may qualify for additional funding and should follow MassCEC's Acoustic Methodology for Wind Projects. A public entity may also apply for business planning grants, which take place after the feasibility study.


Finally, development grants are available for community-scale wind projects. These grants may be used for both development activities, such as permitting, environmental impact evaluation, technical studies, and public outreach, and construction activities, such as turbine procurement, construction, and commissioning. Funding levels (with associated cost shares) are as follows:


  • Feasibility Study, Public Entity: $50,000 maximum grant with 5% cost share.
  • Feasibility Study, Non-Public Entity: $40,000 maximum grant with 20% cost share.
  • Wind Monitoring Equipment Adder, Public Entity: $20,000, with 5% cost share.
  • Wind Monitoring Equipment Adder, Non-Public Entity: $15,000 with 20% cost share.
  • Acoustic Study Grant, Public Entity: $15,000 maximum grant and no cost share.
  • Acoustic Study Grant, Non-Public Entity: $12,000 maximum grant with 20% cost share.
  • Business Planning Adder, Public Entity only: $15,000 maximum grant with 5% cost share.
  • Development Grant, Public Entity: $400,000 maximum grant with 5% cost share.
  • Development Grant, Non-Public Entity: $260,000 maximum grant with 25% cost share.
All applications must be submitted electronically. Interested applicants must review the full program documentation, solicitations and applications. This is only a brief overview.
Commonwealth Wind Incentive Program – Micro Wind Initiative (Massachusetts) Massachusetts State Rebate Program Yes State/Territory Through the Commonwealth Wind Incentive Program – Micro Wind Initiative the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) offers rebates of up to $4/W with a maximum of $130,000 for design and construction of customer-sited small wind public projects and rebates of up to $5.20/W with a maximum of $100,000 for non-public projects. The rebates are available for projects 1 to 99 kilowatts (kW) nameplate capacity. Projects must be located at residential, commercial, industrial or public institutional facilities ("host sites") served by one of the investor-owned electric distribution utilities in Massachusetts -- Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light (Unitil), Massachusetts Electric (National Grid), Nantucket Electric (National Grid), NSTAR Electric, or Western Massachusetts Electric. In addition, certain Municipal Light Plant (MLP) Departments have opted to pay into the Renewable Energy Trust and their customers are now eligible for rebates (see the information about MLPs here).

The rebate is available to the system owner, which may or may not be the host customer. The wind-system installer must provide "turnkey service and installation," which includes preparation and submission of the rebate application. The application must be pre-approved before the system is built. Applications must demonstrate that 50% or more of the electricity produced by the renewable-energy system to be funded by MassCEC will be used on-site or net metered, based on annual production and usage estimates. Installers are required to carry insurance, as outlined in the program guidelines. Projects may be multi-turbine projects (although only the first 99 kW will be eligible for the rebate). Projects must also meet minimum expected performance criteria of at least 10% capacity factor. As part of the application process, applicants use the Commonwealth Wind Evaluation and Siting Tool (CWEST) to determine the expected capacity factor of their project (as well as expected performance).

Massachusetts Micro Wind rebate is a hybrid rebate. It is part capacity-based and part expected performance-based. Ninety percent of the rebate is paid at the time of project goes online and 10% is paid after one year of reporting. The first part of the rebate (the "Installation Rebate") is based on the wind turbine's rated capacity at 11 m/s according to the calculation: Incentive = rated capacity (kW) * 460 + 3200.

The equation for the second rebate (the "Estimated Performance Rebate") is: Expected Production (as determined by CWEST, in kilowatt hours) * 2.8 * rated capacity (kW)^-0.29.

Applicants are required to install revenue quality meters on the systems to record the electrical production. Production must be reported monthly to the MassCEC Production Tracking System (PTS) for one year after installation. Projects 10 kW and above must install equipment capable of automated reporting to the PTS. The MassCEC will pay the remaining 10% of the incentive after receiving production information. MassCEC also uses this information to calculate performance bonus payments for systems that produce more than expected (bonus payments are not guaranteed and are subject to change).

It should be noted that projects that do not meet minimum performance eligibility requirement may be eligible for the "Production-Only Pilot Rebate." This will be available for up to five projects or 20 kW in total rated capacity. All other eligibility requirements must be met. The "Production-Only Pilot Rebate" incentive amount is calculated as:
Incentive = Production * (Installation Incentive + Estimated Performance Rebate using 10% capacity factor). It is available only after 12 months of actual electricity production.

The Micro Wind rebate is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The program retains 25% of the budget for small systems (projects 15 kW and below) during the first nine months of the fiscal year. For additional technical requirements and application materials, see the program website.
Community Development Block Grant/Economic Development Infrastructure Financing (United States) United States Grant Program
Loan Program
Yes Federal Community Development Block Grant/Economic Development Infrastructure Financing (CDBG/EDIF) provides public infrastructure financing to help communities grow jobs, enable new business startups and expansions for existing businesses. State programs help achieve the national objective of CDBG by funding projects in which at least 51 percent of the new jobs created are made available to low and moderate income individuals. The maximum amounts awarded under the program are $1 million for new businesses locating to the state and $500,000 for existing businesses expanding in the state.
Concord Municipal Light Plant - Solar Rebate Program (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Utility Rebate Program Yes Utility Concord Municipal Light Plant (CMLP) offers rebates to customers who install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that are designed to offset the customer's electrical needs. Systems must be owned by the customer (no leased or rented systems are eligible) and located at the customer's premise. Customers should complete the solar application and sign the terms and conditions. In addition, customers must submit a copy of the installation contract, and CMLP interconnection application. Furthermore, customers must allow CMLP access to the property and system for a rebate verification inspection.
Economic Development Incentive Program (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Corporate Tax Incentive Yes State/Province The Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP) is a tax incentive program designed to foster job creation and stimulate business growth throughout the Commonwealth. Participating companies may receive state and local tax incentives in exchange for job creation, manufacturing job retention and private investment commitments.
Forestry Policies (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province Massachusetts has over 3 million acres of forested land, almost all private, managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation Forestry Bureau. The State issued in 2010 its Assessment and Strategy documents, including discussion of the potential for better utilization of forestry residues for energy generation. The Strategies document also mentions proposed legislation in this regard:

http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dcr/stewardship/forestry/assessment-of-forest-resources.pdf http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dcr/stewardship/forestry/massachusetts-forest-resources-strategies.pdf

The Bureau's Marketing and Utilization Program assists in business opportunities for wood products, including woody biomass for energy. Their website has several documents and resources related to woody biomass energy: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/conservation/forestry-and-fire-control/marketing-and-utilization-program.html

The State Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs recently updated its definitions of woody biomass to be qualified as eligible for inclusion in the State's RPS: http://www.mass.gov/eea/energy-utilities-clean-tech/renewable-energy/biomass/renewable-portfolio-standard-biomass-policy.html

The State Forestry Laws, Forms and Directions are compiled by the Department of Conservation and Recreation: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/conservation/forestry-and-fire-control/state-forestry-laws-forms-and-directions.html

Massachusetts law regulates the treatment of slash (forestry harvesting residues) to reduce the risk of fire as well as aesthetic impacts: http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dcr/stewardship/forestry/ma-forestry-bmp-manual-rd.pdf
Green Communities Grant Program (Massachusetts) Massachusetts State Grant Program Yes State/Territory Note: The Green Communities Grant Program is no longer accepting applications. The deadline to receive official designation as a Green Community was October 30, 2012. For designated communities, the grant application period closed January 21, 2013.


In 2008, Massachusetts enacted the Green Communities Act (S.B. 2768) and created the Green Communities Division within the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to support Massachusetts communities towards a sustainable future, specifically in terms of energy use.

The Green Communities Division offers educational, technical, and networking support to the states' communities. In addition, they provide financial incentives. The Green Communities Grant Program offers funding for communities investing in energy efficiency upgrades and policies, renewable energy technologies, energy management systems and services, and demand side reduction programs.

To be eligible, communities first must apply for and achieve official designation as a "Green Community." The basic steps required for this designation include:


  • Stipulate "as-of-right" siting for renewable energy (or alternative energy) generation, manufacturing, or research and development (via ordinance)
  • Provide for expedited application and permitting processes for those facilities sited in "as-of-right" designated locations
  • Reduce energy use by 20% in 5 years
  • Adopt a policy and procure only fuel-efficient vehicles
  • Establish requirements to minimize life-cycle energy costs for new construction (suggested route for achieving this step is via adoption of "Stretch Code." See the program website for more information).
The Green Communities Division provides several model ordinances and guides and is staffed with energy experts to help communities take these steps to earn designation. As of September 2012, there are 103 officially designated Green Communities in Massachusetts. At the time of designation, the Green Communities Division will inform municipalities of its grant amount, which is based on the available funds, number of applications and a grant formula. Then, the Green Community is invited to submit a grant application for the grant amount.
Green Power Purchasing Commitment (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Green Power Purchasing Yes State/Territory In April 2007, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed Executive Order 484, titled “Leading by Example: Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings.” This order establishes numerous energy targets and mandates for state government buildings under control of the executive office. The order directed state government agencies to procure 15% of annual electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2012 and 30% by 2020. This mandate may be achieved through procurement of renewable energy supply, purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs), and/or through the production of on-site renewable power. Only renewable sources that qualify for the Massachusetts renewable portfolio standard (RPS) are eligible.
Hudson Light & Power - Photovoltaic Incentive Program (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Utility Rebate Program Yes Utility Starting in 2011, Hudson Light & Power Department, the municipal utility for the Town of Hudson, started offering a limited number of photovoltaic rebates for residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers. The maximum incentive is $5,000 for residential customers per installation per 12-month period and the maximum incentive for non-residential customers per installation per 12-month period is $10,000. Only grid-connected systems are eligible. Interested customers must first complete the "Request for Rebate" for pre-approval; after receiving approval, the customer has one year to complete the installation. Hudson Light & Power Department will perform an inspection after the installation is completed.
ISO New England Forward Capacity Market (Multiple States) Connecticut
Maine
Massachusetts
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
Vermont
Generating Facility Rate-Making Yes Non-Profit Under the Forward Capacity Market (FCM), ISO New England projects the capacity needs of the region’s power system three years in advance and then holds an annual auction to purchase the power resources that will satisfy those future regional requirements. Resources that clear in the auction are obligated to provide power or curtail demand when called upon by the ISO. The Forward Capacity Market was developed by ISO New England, the six New England states, and industry stakeholders to promote investment in generation and demand-response resources to meet future demand. The results ensure that the region will have sufficient resources to meet future demand. Resources that clear in the auction are committed to provide power or curtail demand when called upon by the ISO, or risk financial penalties.
Interconnection Standards (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Interconnection Yes State/Territory Note: Legislation enacted in August 2012 required the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to develop an enforceable, standard interconnection timeline for distributed generation facilities. In March 2013 in Docket 11-75, the DPU approved the Working Group's proposed timeline along with an interim enforcement mechanism. The Working Group must develop a permanent timeline enforcement mechanism by October 1, 2013.

In February 2011, the DPU opened up a docket to examine net metering and interconnection of distributed generation. While the intent is to make changes to net metering, issues relating to interconnection will be addressed. For more information about that docket, please visit the DPU Docket system, Docket 11-11. In addition, DPU Docket 11-75 is an ongoing investigation on distributed generational interconnection.

Massachusetts's interconnection standards apply to all forms of distributed generation (DG), including renewables, and to all customers of the state's four investor-owned utilities (Unitil, NSTAR, National Grid, and Western Massachusetts Electric Company).

The Model Interconnection Tariff (most recently amended in March 2013) includes provisions for three basic paths for interconnection.

  • The Simplified interconnection process applies to IEEE 1547.1-certified, inverter-based facilities with either 1) a power rating of 15 kW for single-phase systems located on radial EPSs under certain conditions; 2) a power rating of 25 kW or less for three-phase systems (depending on system configuration), located on radial EPSs under certain conditions; 3) a power rating of less than 1/15 of the customer's minimum load and located on a spot network EPS; or 4) a power rating of less than 1/15 of the customer's minimum load and 15 kW or less and located on an areas network EPS with a rating of less than 1/15 of the customer's minimum load and 15 kW or less. There are no fees associated with the simplified process.*
  • The Expedited interconnection process is for IEEE 1547.1-certified facilities that pass certain pre-specified screens on a radial EPS. Application fees are based on the size of the system.*
  • The Standard process is for all other facilities that do not meet the specifications of the Simplified or Expedited process for systems on radial and spot network EPSs, and for all facilities on area network EPSs. Application fees are based on the size of the system.*


The issue of interconnection to network systems is particularly important in Massachusetts because network systems are commonly used in dense urban areas, such as Boston. Order 11-75-E implemented a more transparent Supplemental Review screen process for projects that fail the initial Simplified and Expedited Screens. If a project fails the Simplified and Expedited screens, it must pass three supplemental review screens, otherwise it must go through the full standard review process. In addition to these different paths, all systems 500 kW or greater, facility owners must request and receive a pre-application report from the utility. The pre-application report is optional for facilities less than 500 kW; no fee is charged for this report.

For the simplified and expedited interconnection paths, technical requirements are based on the IEEE 1547 and UL 1741 standards. A manual external disconnect switch may be required at the discretion of the utility (project-specific, not required in the tariffs). Utilities must collect and track information on the interconnection process. This information will be used in revising and updating the standards.

In August, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) submitted the Massachusetts Distributed Generation Interconnection Report to the DPU outlining its recommendations for improved interconnection policies and processes based on its research, which included an extensive stakeholder survey, conducted in April 2011. In September 2012, the Massachusetts Distributed Generation Interconnection Working Group submitted its final report recommending changes to the state's interconnection standards. DPU incorporated changes from comments submitted in Docket 11-75, and adopted the report those changes in March 2013.

    • As part of Order 11-75-E (March 2013), the Department of Public Utilities called for an investigation of fees associated with interconnection. The application fees may change as a result of this investigation.
Investments in Job Creation (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Public Benefits Fund Yes State/Province The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) provides support to clean energy companies that are expanding their operations in Massachusetts. When considering possible support, key factors that MassCEC considers are the potential economic development impacts for Massachusetts and the number and nature of the jobs that will be created. The company’s geographic location within the Commonwealth is also a consideration. The investment structure and amount depends on these factors. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and a company needs to submit a business plan to apply.
Local Incentives (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Corporate Tax Incentive Yes State/Province The Massachusetts Office of Business Development helps companies to identify communities interested in offering locally-negotiated incentives, such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF), Special Tax Assessment (STA), and property tax exemption or reduction.
Local Option - Energy Revolving Loan Fund (Massachusetts) Massachusetts PACE Financing Yes State/Territory Note: In 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which has authority over mortgage underwriters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, directed these enterprises against purchasing mortgages of homes with a PACE lien due to its senior status above a mortgage. Most residential PACE activity subsided following this directive; however, some residential PACE programs are now operating with loan loss reserve funds, appropriate disclosures, or other protections meant to address FHFA's concerns. Commercial PACE programs were not directly affected by FHFA’s actions, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not underwrite commercial mortgages. Visit PACENow for more information about PACE financing and a comprehensive list of all PACE programs across the country.

Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing effectively allows property owners to borrow money to pay for energy improvements. The amount borrowed is typically repaid via a special assessment on the property over a period of years. Massachusetts has authorized local governments to establish such programs, as described below. (Not all local governments in Massachusetts offer PACE financing; contact your local government to find out if it has established a PACE financing program.)

In July 2010, Massachusetts established PACE financing as part of a larger "Municipal Relief Bill" (H.B. 4877). This law authorizes local governments to establish an "Energy Revolving Loan Fund" to provide financing to private property owners (including condominium owners, as long as the improvements include part of the common areas/facilities) for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. The law permits local governments to consult with the Division of Green Communities (part of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources) to determine which improvements should be eligible, but in November 2010 the Division of Green Communities announced that it was not providing PACE guidance until the FHFA situation has been resolved.

Local governments interested in establishing an Energy Revolving Loan Fund must first hold a public meeting. Then, the local government must pass an ordinance or by-law to create the program and identify the fund's administrator. Local governments are allowed to enter into agreements with other local governments to create and administer a program. After establishing an Energy Revolving Loan Fund, the administrator is authorized to provide financing to property owners for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements, provided those property owners have had an energy audit* and meet any additional energy conservation requirements. Property owners that opt in to a local program will enter into a "betterment" agreement and are responsible for repaying the assessment according to the agreement's terms.


* An energy audit must be performed for facilities that have not undertaken such an audit after July 1, 2008.
Manufacture and Sale of Gas and Electricity (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Safety and Operational Guidelines Yes State/Province These regulations describe service territories, service quality standards, consumer protections, relevant costs and financing, construction procedures, stock ownership, taxes, provisions for public participation, determination of environmental impacts, use of eminent domain, authority to shut down and restore service, cooperatives, and the issuance of bonds as they relate to the manufacture or sale of gas and electricity in Massachusetts. The regulations contain several sections specific to certain types of electricity generation, including solar energy, hydropower, natural gas, and small renewable energy generation facilities.
Marblehead Municipal Light Department - Solar Rebate Program (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Utility Rebate Program Yes Utility Interested customers must contact Marblehead directly to apply and confirm incentive availability before starting any projects. This incentive may change or be canceled at any time.

Marblehead Municipal Light Department offers eligible customers a rebate for solar photovoltaics (PV) installations. The eligibility criteria and incentive were designed to mirror the eligibility and incentives offered under the state's Commonwealth Solar rebate program and changes when the Commonwealth Solar II program changes.* Marblehead Municipal Light Department is not required under law to contribute to the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust (Trust), and therefore its customers are not eligible to receive rebates through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center programs. Marblehead accepts proposals from its customers who are interested in a solar rebate. Program availability is subject to change and/or cancellation without warning.

  • The Commonwealth Solar II is administered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
Massachusetts Clean Air Act (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province The Act contains regulations to prevent the pollution and contamination of the atmosphere. The Act establishes a contiguous metropolitan pollution control district, comprised of towns in the greater Boston area. The Department of Environmental Protection is responsible for controlling pollution levels in this district, and has the authority to prescribe and establish, amend or repeal, rules and regulations to prevent pollution or undue contamination of the atmosphere within said district. Other municipalities may apply to the Department to form additional pollution control districts. Regulations pertaining to this Act can be found in 310 CMR 7.00-8.00.
Massachusetts Clean Waters Act (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province This Act establishes a Division of Water Pollution Control within the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The Division is responsible for establishing a program for the prevention, control, and abatement of water pollution, as defined in Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 21, sec. 27. The discharge of pollutants into water requires a permit, proceedings for which are outlined in sec. 43. Under the Act, the Secretary of Environmental Affairs may also designate “areas of special interest” within the waters of Massachusetts, and promulgate rules and regulations that pertain specifically to these areas. Regulations pertaining to this Act can be found in 257 CMR 2.00 (certification of wastewater treatment plant operators) and 314 CMR 1.00-15.00 (2.00: permit procedures; 3.00 and 4.00: surface water; 7.00: sewer system; 8.00: hazardous waste management facilities; 9.00: discharge of dredged or fill material; 12.00: wastewater treatment plant standards).
Massachusetts Endangered Species Act Regulations (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province The regulations that accompany the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act list three categories of animals and plants in need of protection: endangered, threatened, and species of special concern. Priority habitats are defined as the geographic areas in which these state-listed species live, and an interactive map of priority habitats can be found on the website of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Some limited construction, maintenance, and removal activities on buildings or infrastructure are allowed within these priority areas, but many are either prohibited or require special permits. Significant habitats are defined as specialized habitat types to which some species are restricted (e.g., sandplain grasslands, floodplain forests, and estuaries). The designation of “significant habitat” is much more restrictive than that of “priority habitat”; these habitats are off-limits to most types of development, and many proposed activities require Alteration Permits. However, no significant habitats have been designated to date. A full list of activities requiring permits is available here: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/natural-heritage/publications-forms/forms/
Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Facility Siting Act (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province This Act establishes the means by which developers of proposed hazardous waste facilities will work with the community in which they wish to construct a facility. When the intent to construct, maintain, and/or operate a hazardous waste facility in a city or town is demonstrated, a local assessment committee will be established by that community. The committee will be responsible for negotiating with the developer of the proposed facility, representing the interests of the community, reviewing project documents, and, if applicable, signing contracts on behalf of the community. The developer and local assessment committee must settle upon a siting agreement prior to the construction, maintenance, and/or operation of a hazardous waste facility; the agreement will specify the terms, conditions, and provisions for the facility. This Act also establishes arbitration procedures in the event a dispute occurs with the host community or any abutting community, and allows for the use of eminent domain to secure land in certain situations. Specific regulations regarding this Act can be found in 310 CMR 30.000 and in 990 CMR 1.00-16.00.
Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Management Act (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province This Act contains regulations for safe disposal of hazardous waste, and establishes that a valid license is required to collect, transport, store, treat, use, or dispose of hazardous waste. Short term containment of hazardous waste on the premises of the person who generated said waste may be exempt from this license requirement. The Act further establishes a Hazardous Waste Advisory Committee to provide consultation to the Department of Environmental Protection, and a Division of Hazardous Waste within the Department. The Department will supervise the maintenance and operation of all facilities related to hazardous waste, require that all licensed facilities possess liability insurance, maintain communication with the local Board of Health, provide for the surveillance of hazardous waste processing, and take other actions related to management and surveillance of, and education regarding, hazardous waste. Specific regulations regarding this Act can be found in 310 CMR 30.000.
Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province The Massachusetts Ocean Act of 2008 required the state’s Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to develop a comprehensive ocean management plan for the state by the end of 2009. That plan identified certain state waters that are eligible for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy development and other state waters where such development is prohibited. To see the plan, go to http://www.mass.gov/eea/waste-mgnt-recycling/coasts-and-oceans/mass-ocean-plan/final-massachusetts-ocean-management-plan.html
Massachusetts Oil and Hazardous Material Release Prevention and Response Act, State Superfund Law (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Safety and Operational Guidelines Yes State/Province This Act contains information on prevention strategies for hazardous material release, permits for facilities managing hazardous waste, and response tactics and liability in the event such release occurs. Specific regulations regarding this Act can be found in 310 CMR 40.0000.
Massachusetts Rivers Protection Act (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province The law creates a 200-foot riverfront area that extends on both sides of rivers and streams. The riverfront area is 25 feet in the following municipalities: Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Malden, New Bedford, Somerville, Springfield, Winthrop, and Worcester; and in "densely developed areas," which are designated by the Secretary of the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. The law does not create a new permitting process, but rather builds on the strength of the existing procedures under the Wetlands Protection Act. The local conservation commission or the state Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) reviews projects to ensure that the riverfront area is protected for the eight interests in the Wetlands Act: the protection of public and private water supply, protection of groundwater supply, protection of land containing shellfish, protection of wildlife habitat, flood control, storm damage prevention, prevention of pollution, and protection of fisheries. The law also establishes the policy of the state to protect the natural integrity of rivers and to encourage and establish open space along rivers. Regulations pertaining to densely developed areas can be found in 301 CMR 10.00.
Mills, Dams, and Reservoirs (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province This chapter of the Massachusetts General Laws outlines procedures to settle disputes regarding the construction and operation of dams on non-navigable waters. Dam construction or alteration is allowed on non-navigable waters with a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection, but others affected by the dam can file civil suits and potentially obtain monetary compensation for damages to land. Existing dams are not affected by this section; however, material alterations to dams that may cause further damage to others' land (e.g., raising the dam, altering the machinery or method of water flow) may also result in a civil suit. Construction and operation of dams on navigable streams or across the outlets of great ponds is not permitted without a license from the Department of Environmental Protection. All dams must be registered with the Department. The regulations accompanying this legislation, in 321 CMR 10.00, contain criteria for the design and construction of new dams.
Model As-of Right Zoning Ordinance or Bylaw: Allowing Use of Wind Energy Facilities (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Solar/Wind Permitting Standards Yes State/Territory Note: This model ordinance was designed to provide guidance to local governments seeking to develop their own siting rules for wind turbines. While it was developed as part of a cooperative effort involving several state agencies, the model itself has no legal or regulatory authority.

In 2007, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) issued a model ordinance or by-law that may be modified and adopted, as necessary, by local governments that want to promote wind-energy development. In 2009, DOER and EOEEA amended the model ordinance to cover both small and large wind developments and to incorporate “as-of-right siting,”* that basically means as long as developments follow the local, state, and federal laws, they are allowed. Additional adjustments were made in June 2011 to clarify set-back issues.

The model applies to all proposed utility-scale and on-site wind facilities. The model “as-of-right” siting must allow for wind energy facilities with at least one turbine of 600 kW or more. An essential part of “as-of-right” siting is the establishment of designated locations. Once the location(s) is (are) designated within a local jurisdiction, a wind development may proceed without the need for any special permits. A standard building permit and compliance with local zoning bylaws would be required.

The state model includes the following provisions:

  • Compliance with Laws, Ordinances and Regulations. Construction and operation of proposed wind facilities must be consistent with all applicable local, state and federal requirements, including but not limited to all applicable safety, construction, environmental, electrical, communications and aviation requirements.
  • Building Permit and Inspection. All wind energy systems must first obtain a building permit and work must then commence within 6 months (per state building code laws), extensions may be requested and granted multiple times.
  • Fees. The fee required for a building permit.
  • Height. Wind facilities should not exceed 450 feet above the current grade of the land. (Some exceptions apply.)
  • Setbacks. Wind turbines must be set back a distance equal to 3 times the height of the turbine from the nearest existing residential or commercial structure, and 1.5 times the height of the turbine from the nearest property line, other public ways, buildings, critical infrastructure.
  • Color and Finish. Shall comply with the Federal Aviation Administration safety requirements.
  • Noise. The wind-energy facility and associated equipment must conform to the provisions of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s noise regulations (310 CMR 7.10).
  • Site Plan Review. All wind projects must go through a Site Plan Review prior to any construction (or modification). This review is strictly to verify that the project complies with the zoning by-law.

The state model also includes provisions regarding wind-energy facility removal requirements, abandonment, project financial surety, liability insurance, lighting and signage. The state model lists documents required for the site plan review, including a location map, a site plan, visualizations, landscape plans, operation and maintenance plans, and all relevant compliance documents (such as building permits and approvals).


*As-of-right siting is defined in the model ordinance as "development may proceed without the need for a special permit, variance, amendment, waiver, or other discretionary approval. As-of-right development may be subject to non-discretionary site plan review to determine conformance with local zoning bylaws as well as state and federal law. As-of-right development projects that are consistent with zoning bylaws and with state and federal law cannot be prohibited."
Model As-of Right Zoning Ordinance or Bylaw: Allowing Use of Large-Scale Solar Energy Facilities (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Solar/Wind Permitting Standards Yes State/Territory Note: This model ordinance was designed to provide guidance to local governments seeking to develop siting rules for large-scale, ground-mounted solar (250 kW and above). While it was developed as part of a cooperative effort involving several state agencies, the model itself has no legal or regulatory authority.

The Green Communities Act was passed in 2008. As part of this Act, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) developed an “as-of-right siting,”* model ordinance guiding the development of large-scale solar, which is defined as 250 kilowatts (kW) or more).

The model “as-of-right” siting must allow for ground-mounted solar photovoltaic installations 250 kW (DC) or more. An essential part of “as-of-right” siting is the establishment of designated locations. Once the location(s) is (are) designated within a local jurisdiction, a solar development may proceed without the need for any special permits. A standard building permit and compliance with local zoning bylaws would be required.

The state model includes the following provisions (these provisions are updated periodically):

  • Compliance with Laws, Ordinances and Regulations Construction and operation of proposed large-scale ground-mounted solar facilities must be consistent with all applicable local, state and federal requirements, including but not limited to all applicable safety, construction, environmental, electrical, communications and aviation requirements.
  • Building Permit and Inspection All large-scale ground-mounted solar facilities must first obtain a building permit and work must then commence within 6 months (per state building code laws), extensions may be requested and granted multiple times.
  • Fees The fee required for a building permit.
  • Setbacks The model ordinance suggests front, side, and rear-set backs of between 10 to 25 feet in typical situations, but at least 50 feet when the property borders residential and/or conservation-recreation districts.
  • Signs and Lighting Lighting should comply with local, state, federal laws and should be designed to minimize lighting pollution. Signs should comply with local sign laws and include the owner of the project and provide an emergency contact phone number.

The state model also includes provisions regarding solar facility removal requirements, abandonment, project financial surety, and liability insurance. The state model lists documents required for the site plan review, including a location map, a site plan, landscape plans, operation and maintenance plans, and all relevant compliance documents (such as building permits and approvals).

For additional information on the model bylaw, see the DOER's Green Communities Grant Program Website.

*As-of-right siting is defined in the model ordinance as "development may proceed without the need for a special permit, variance, amendment, waiver, or other discretionary approval. As-of-right development may be subject to site plan review to determine conformance with local zoning ordinances or bylaws. Projects cannot be prohibited, but can be reasonably regulated by the inspector of buildings, building commissioner or local inspector, or if there is none in a town, the board of selectmen, or person or board designated by local ordinance or bylaw."
MuniHELPS - Offered by 17 Utilities through the MMWEC (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Utility Rebate Program Yes Utility The Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) provides the Home Energy Loss Prevention Services (HELPS) Program to seventeen municipal utilities in Massachusetts.

HELPS offers a home energy audit, appliance and lighting rebates and other incentives for the implementation of measures recommended in an audit. Participating utilities customize the suite of rebates provided to customers in order to help those customers implement measures recommended in the energy audit.

HELPS also provides customers with a gauge of a home's solar energy potential as a standard part of every HELPS audit. The program includes turn-key services for solar system installation, including Photovoltaic (PV) panels, solar thermal panels or passive solar home additions. In addition, HELPS offers utilities the opportunity to offer customers rebates for installation of solar PV panels.


The following municipalities offer HELPS rebates: Ashburnham, Boylston, Chicopee, Holyoke, Hull, Ipswich, Marblehead, Paxton, Princeton, Russell, Shrewsbury, South Hadley, Sterling, Templeton, Wakefield, and Westfield. Please check the MuniHELPS list of rebate programs to verify programs and to download each utility's rebate application.
Net Metering (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Net Metering Yes State/Territory In Massachusetts, the state's investor-owned utilities must offer net metering. Municipal utilities are not obligated to offer net metering, but they may do so voluntarily. (There are no electric cooperatives in Massachusetts.)

Class I, Class II, Class III net metering facilities In Massachusetts, there are several categories of net-metering facilities. "Class I" facilities are generally defined as systems up to 60 kW in capacity. "Class II" facilities are generally defined as systems greater than 60 kW and up to one megawatt (MW) in capacity that generate electricity from agricultural products, solar energy or wind energy. "Class III” facilities are generally defined as systems greater than 1 MW and up to 2 MW in capacity that generate electricity from agricultural products, solar energy or wind energy. Massachusetts also allows “neighborhood net metering” for neighborhood-based Class I, II or III facilities that are owned by (or serve the energy needs of) a group of 10 or more residential customers in a single neighborhood and served by a single utility. The neighborhood facility may also serve additional customers (including commercial) as long as the base requirements are met. All net-metered facilities must be behind a customer’s meter, but only a minimal amount of load located on-site is required. In aggregate, these "non-governmental facilities" may not exceed 3% of the distribution company’s peak load.*

Municipal or Government net metering facility Legislation in 2010 introduced an additional definition for "a net metering facility of a municipality or other governmental entity.” This type of net metered facility must be either Class II or Class III, as defined above, and must be owned by a municipality or governmental entity or the entity must use all of the facility's output. Net metering facilities by a municipality or other governmental entity up to 10 MW are eligible. In aggregate, these municipal or governmental facilities may not exceed 3% of the distribution company's peak load. Massachusetts requires that the utilities report on their aggregate capacity of net metered facilities regularly, since in some instances utilities may be approaching the caps.

For explicit definitions of "facilities" and "units," applicable to all types of net metering facilities, see the Department of Public Utilities' (DPU) Order on Definitions of Unit and Facility Docket 11-11 from August 2012.

The treatment of customer net excess generation (NEG) varies by facility class and customer type. In all cases, the NEG is monetized and Net Metering Credits are calculated based on the excess kilowatt hours (kWh) produced. In summary, value of the Net Metering Credits at the end of a billing period is slightly less than the utility’s full retail rate for Class I solar and wind facilities, Class II facilities, and Class III facilities used by government customers as they would receive credit for the default service, distribution, transmission, and transition charge (kilowatt hour, kWh). Net Metering Credits for Class III facilities and neighborhood facilities that are used by customers other than government entities differs only in that they do not receive credit for the distribution component. Class II and Class III customers are required to install revenue-grade meters to measure kWh output.

Credits may be carried forward to the next month indefinitely, and credits from net metering facilities may be transferred to another customer of the same utility as long as they are within the same service territory and ISO-NE load zone. Utilities may choose to pay for the net metering credits for Class III facilities rather than allocating the credits. If a neighborhood facility has NEG at the end of a billing period, the credits are awarded to designated neighborhood customers. The amount of NEG attributed to each such customer is determined by the allocation provided by the neighborhood net metering facility.

Third-party owned systems may be net metered. Utilities are not granted the renewable energy credits or environmental attributes generated by a net-metered facility.

As part of the interconnection application, customers applying for net metering must complete "Schedule Z." See Massachusetts' Interconnection in DSIRE for more information.

Because net metering has an aggregate capacity cap, as described above, the DPU passed a "System of Assurance of Net Metering Eligibility" in May 2012 for customers of investor-owned utilities. This will serve as a net metering queue and help potential net metering customers know in advance if their system will be allowed to net meter or not. The company, The Cadmus Group, Inc., has been chosen as the administrator of the system of assurance. All investor-owned utility customers with systems greater than 10 kilowatts on a single-phase circuit and all systems great than 25 kilowatts on a three-phase circuit wishing to net meter must apply for a "cap allocation" online via the Massachusetts Application for Cap Allocations web site (www.MassACA.org). There is a $100 application fee and the applicant must have an executed Interconnection Service Agreement (ISA) from the utility.

History

Net metering was originally authorized for renewable-energy systems and combined-heat-and-power (CHP) facilities with a generating capacity up to 30 kilowatts (kW) by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities in 1982. In 1997, the maximum individual system capacity was raised to 60 kW and customers were permitted to carry any net excess generation (NEG) -- credited at the "average monthly market price of generation" -- to the next bill. In July 2008, net metering was significantly expanded by S.B. 2768 and the DPU adopted rules implementing the law in June 2009. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) amended net-metering rules in July 2009 (see final order). These DPU rules were ordered in accordance with the legislative changes instituted in 2008. Furthermore in August 2009, the DPU issued its model net metering tariff and new utility net metering tariffs for the state's investor-owned utilities (Unitil, National Grid, NSTAR, and Western Massachusetts Electric Company) became effective December 2009. The law was amended again in 2010 (H.B. 5028), and new rules promulgated in February 2012. A new model tariff and utility tariffs were finalized in July 2012 in Docket 12-01.


* For the purpose of calculating the aggregate capacity, the capacity of a net-metered solar facility is 80% of the facility’s DC rating at standard test conditions (STC) and the capacity of a net-metered wind facility is the name plate capacity.
New England Power Pool (Multiple States) Maine
New Hampshire
Vermont
Massachusetts
Rhode Island
Connecticut
Interconnection Yes Non-Profit Independent System Operator (ISO) New England helps protect the health of New England's economy and the well-being of its people by ensuring the constant availability of electricity, today and for future generations. ISO New England meets this obligation in three ways: by ensuring the day-to-day reliable operation of New England's bulk power generation and transmission system, by overseeing and ensuring the fair administration of the region's wholesale electricity markets, and by managing comprehensive, regional planning processes.
Public Waterfront Act - Chapter 91 (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province This Act contains a number of regulations regarding the construction of structures and other activity near rivers, streams, harbors, and tidelands. Regulations pertaining to this Act can be found in 310 CMR 9.00 (waterways regulations) and 301 CMR 20.00-26.00 (coastal zone management program).
Qualifying RPS State Export Markets (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Renewables Portfolio Standards and Goals Yes State/Province This entry lists the states with Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) policies that accept generation located in Massachusetts as eligible sources towards their RPS targets or goals. For specific information with regard to eligible technologies or other restrictions which may vary by state, see the RPS policy entries for the individual states, shown below in the Authority listings. Typically energy must be delivered to an in-state utility or Load Serving Entity, and often only a portion of compliance targets may be met by out-of-state generation. In addition to geographic and energy delivery requirements, ownership, registry, and other requirements may apply, such as resource eligibility, generator vintage and capacity limitations, as well as limits on Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) vintage. The listing applies to RPS Main Tiers only, and excludes solar or distributed generation that may require interconnection only within the RPS state. This assessment is based on energy delivery requirements and reasonable transmission availability. Acceptance of unbundled RECs varies. There may be additional sales opportunities in RPS states outside the Eastern Interconnection. REC prices in markets with voluntary goals (North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont) may be lower.
Reading Municipal Light Department - Residential Renewable Energy Rebates (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Utility Rebate Program Yes Utility Reading Municipal Light Department (RMLD) offers rebates of $1.00/watt for solar photovoltaic and small wind installations for residential customers. A $0.25/watt adder is available for using local contractors and manufacturers (within 500 miles) and RMLD provides an additional incentive up to $1.25/watt if the customers participates in an energy efficiency audit and has RMLD conduct an evaluation study of the proposed installation.

Pre-approval is required and interested residential customers should contact RMLD at the onset of project interest and implementation.
Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Property Tax Incentive Yes State/Territory Massachusetts law provides that solar-energy systems and wind-energy systems used as a primary or auxiliary power system for the purpose of heating or otherwise supplying the energy needs of taxable property are exempt from local property tax for a 20-year period. Hydropower facilities are also exempt from local property tax for a 20-year period if a system owner enters into an agreement with the city or town to make a payment (in lieu of taxes) of at least 5% of its gross income in the preceding calendar year.

This incentive applies only to the value added to a property by an eligible system, according to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). It does not constitute an exemption for the full amount of the property tax bill.

Any components of the energy system that serve dual purposes (for example: structural and energy) are not eligible for the exemption. For instance, windows, thermal drapes and floors are not eligible for the exemption. However, thermal storage rods, storage boxes, fan systems, and duct work that function exclusively as part of the energy system are eligible for the exemption.
Renewable Energy Trust Fund (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Public Benefits Fund Yes State/Territory The renewable energy fund, known as the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund, is supported by a non-bypassable surcharge of $0.0005 per kilowatt-hour (0.5 mill/kWh), imposed on customers of all investor-owned electric utilities and competitive municipal utilities in Massachusetts. (Non-competitive municipal utilities generally may opt into the Fund by agreeing to the same provisions that apply to investor-owned utilities and competitive municipal utilities.) The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, a quasi-public research and development entity, administers the Fund with oversight and planning assistance from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and an advisory board. The Fund does not have an expiration date.

The Fund may provide grants, contracts, loans, equity investments, energy production credits, bill credits and rebates to customers. The fund is authorized to support “Class I” and “Class II” renewables, which generally include solar photovoltaics (PV); solar thermal electric energy; wind energy; ocean thermal, wave or tidal energy; fuel cells utilizing renewable fuels; landfill gas; energy generated by certain existing hydroelectric facilities up to five megawatts in capacity; certain waste-to-energy which is a component of conventional municipal solid waste plant technology in commercial use; low-emission advanced biomass power conversion technologies using fuels such as wood, by-products or waste from agricultural crops, food or animals, energy crops, biogas, liquid biofuels; marine or hydrokinetic energy; and geothermal energy. In addition, the fund may support combined heat and power (CHP) systems less than 60 kilowatts (kW) and solar hot water.

The Fund is required to transfer, upon the written request of the governor, moneys in the fund, in an amount not exceeding $17 million in the aggregate, for deposit in the state's general fund. In turn, the state must use any transferred money to enter into long-term contracts for the purchase of renewable energy. The maximum payment in any fiscal year under all such contracts is limited to $5 million.

Additional information regarding the Fund and the programs it supports is available on the Fund’s web site, listed above.

History

Massachusetts's 1997 electric-utility restructuring legislation created separate public benefits funds to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency for all customer classes. Both funds were significantly revised by legislation enacted in July 2008 (The Green Communities Act S.B. 2768). In 2009, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center became the administrator of the Renewable Energy Trust Fund. Previously, the Trust Fund was administered by Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. For a thorough report on the history of the fund under the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative administration, please refer to the Renewable Energy Results for Massachusetts: A Report on the Renewable Energy Trust Fund 1998–2008. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative's last annual report is from 2009. See Massachusetts Technology Collaborative 2009 Annual Report.

Massachusetts also established a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) through restructuring in 1997. It was the first state to have enacted both an RPS and a public benefits fund for renewables.
Renewable Portfolio Standard (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Renewables Portfolio Standard Yes State/Territory NOTE: NOTE: In February 2013, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) issued proposed changes to its RPS Class I and RPS Solar Carve-Out programs. The DOER accepted comments through March 25, 2013. In addition, the DOER has developed a draft Assurance of Qualification Guideline and an emergency regulation to provide clarity to the queuing and review process as Solar Carve-Out cap is approached. All drafts, comments, and comment submission information is available on the [ http://www.mass.gov/eea/energy-utilities-clean-tech/renewable-energy/rps-aps/regulatory-proceedings-for-rps-and-aps.htmlDOER web site].

Under the Class I Renewable Portfolio Standard, all retail electricity suppliers must provide a minimum percentage of kilowatt-hours (kWh) sales to end-use customers in Massachusetts from eligible renewable energy resources installed after December 31, 1997, according to the following schedule:

  • 1.0% of sales by 12/31/2003
  • 1.5% of sales by 12/31/2004
  • 2.0% of sales by 12/31/2005
  • 2.5% of sales by 12/31/2006
  • 3.0% of sales by 12/31/2007
  • 3.5% of sales by 12/31/2008
  • 4.0% of sales by 12/31/2009
  • 5.0% of sales by 12/31/2010 *
  • 6.0% of sales by 12/31/2011
  • 7.0% of sales by 12/31/2012
  • 8.0% of sales by 12/31/2013
  • 9.0% of sales by 12/31/2014
  • 10.0% of sales by 12/31/2015
  • 11.0% of sales by 12/31/2016
  • 12.0% of sales by 12/31/2017
  • 13.0% of sales by 12/31/2018
  • 14.0% of sales by 12/31/2019
  • 15.0% of sales by 12/31/2020, and an additional 1% of sales each year thereafter, with no stated expiration date

Eligible Class I resources include: photovoltaics (PV); solar thermal-electric energy; wind energy; ocean thermal, wave or tidal energy; fuel cells utilizing renewable fuels; landfill gas; energy generated by certain new hydroelectric facilities, or certain incremental new energy from increased capacity or efficiency improvements at existing hydroelectric facilities; low-emission advanced biomass power conversion technologies using fuels such as wood, by-products or waste from agricultural crops, food or vegetative material, energy crops, algae, biogas, liquid biofuels;** marine or hydrokinetic energy; and geothermal energy.

Starting in 2010, retail suppliers must provide a portion of the required renewable energy under the Class I Standard from qualified in-state, interconnected solar facilities. The DOER carried out a stakeholder process that began during second quarter of 2009 to determine the details of this requirement, called the Class I Solar Carve-Out. Final regulations were issued December 2010.

Qualifying solar facilities (officially known as “Solar Carve-Out Renewable Generation Units” in the regulations) must be 6 MW (direct current DC) or less, and must have become operational after December 31, 2007. Facilities that received funding prior to January 1, 2010 from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust or more than 67% funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (except the federal grant in lieu of tax credit) are ineligible. The Solar Carve-Out Minimum Standard for compliance year 2012 is 0.163%. The Solar Carve-Out Minimum Standard for compliance year 2013 is 0.2744%.*** The Solar Minimum Standard is calculated by dividing the annual solar compliance obligation in megawatt hours (MWh) by the total RPS load obligation from the previous two years. The solar compliance obligation in turn is based on the difference in the SRECs generated during the past two years (see the DOER regulations for calculations and additional guidance). When 400 MW (DC) of qualifying solar facilities have been installed, no additional solar facilities will be qualified for the Solar Carve-Out, although they would be eligible to qualify as a RPS Class I Renewable facility and continue to satisfy the overall Class I Standard.

The DOER has established the qualification process for RPS Class I Renewable and Solar Carve-Out Renewable Generation Facilities in its regulations and provides forms and instructions on its website. The DOER will issue the Statement of Qualification (SQ) and once issued, the developer has four years to put the generation facility into operation. The regulations allow DOER to grant extensions, however the petitioner must submit a new SQ application. No SQ will be issued for Solar Carve-Out projects until all applicable permits are secured.

The Class II RPS requires all retail electricity suppliers to provide annually 3.6% of kWh sales to end-use customers in Massachusetts from Class II renewables, starting in 2009. Eligible Class II renewables include systems operating before December 31, 1997, that generate electricity using PV; solar thermal-electric energy; wind energy; ocean thermal, wave or tidal energy; fuel cells utilizing renewable fuels; landfill gas; energy generated by certain existing hydroelectric facilities up to 7.5 megawatts (MW) in capacity; low-emission advanced biomass power conversion technologies using fuels such as wood, by-products or waste from agricultural crops, food or vegetative waste, energy crops, biogas, liquid biofuels; marine or hydrokinetic energy; or geothermal energy. In August 2012, DOER has temporarily stopped considering woody biomass as a Class II eligible resource until a rulemaking is completed. The rulemaking is to consider the provisions from the Class I regulations relating to protecting forests and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, there is a separate Class II Waste Energy Minimum Standard that requires all retail electricity suppliers to provide annually 3.5% of kWh sales to end-use customers in Massachusetts from waste energy**** starting in 2009. Eligible waste energy generation units must have and maintain a state approved recycling program, must comply with Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s air pollution and solid waste management regulations, and must allocate at least 50% of any revenue received from the sale of renewable energy certificates generated to its recycling programs.

Retail electricity suppliers demonstrate compliance by submitting, in an annual compliance filing to the DOER, documentation that Class I Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), Solar Carve-Out Generation Certificates (SRECs) Class II RECs, and Class II Waste Energy Certificates have been secured.***** These certificates represent the environmental attributes of one megawatt-hour (MWh) of generation from an eligible facility under each class category. In order to facilitate a robust SREC market, that not only responds to market conditions but also provides price support, the DOER has created the Solar Credit Clearinghouse program.

Retail suppliers may pay the alternative compliance payment (ACP) if they are unable to procure enough renewable energy attributes, however the ACP rates are designed to be higher than the market price of RECs and SRECs. The DOER determined the initial ACP rate for each resource category. The ACP for Class I, Class II, and Class II Waste Energy increase (or decrease) annually based on the Consumer Price Index of the previous year. The Solar ACP will decrease only if DOER determines it is needed based on market conditions; they will not reduce it more than 10% in any given year. The Solar ACP was amended in December 2011 and now follows a 10-year schedule (final rules pending). See the DOER's Solar ACP 10-year Schedule for details. The following table provides the base year ACP rate and current ACP rates:


Alternative Compliance Payment Rates
Year Class I Class II Class II Waste Energy Solar Carve-Out
Base Year: Initial Rate/MWh 2003: $50.00 2009: $25.00 2009: $10.00 2010: $600.00
2009 Rate/MWh $60.92 $25.00 $10.00 n/a
2010 Rate/MWh $60.93 $25.00 $10.00 $600.00
2011 Rate/MWh $62.13 $25.50 $10.20 $550.00
2012 Rate/MWh $64.02 $26.28 $10.51 $550.00
2013 Rate/MWh $65.27 $26.79 $10.72 $550.00


Massachusetts RPS compliance reports are available on the DOER website.

The MA DOER and the MA Department of Environmental Protection announced a new joint initiative in November 2011, Clean Energy Results Program. This program has several specific renewable energy goals, including by 2020 achieve 50 MW of new solar PV on landfills and brownfields, and support installation of at least three anaerobic digestors and/or CHP projects by 2014 with private partners, among others.

The Green Communities Act (S.B.2768) also requires that electric distribution companies solicit long-term contracts (defined as 10-15 years) for renewable energy (electricity, RECs, or both) two times between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012. Originally, the legislation required the renewable energy to be from within Massachusetts, however, in June 2010 the Department of Public Utilities issued emergency regulations (220 C.M.R. 17.00 Emergency) striking the in-state requirement, thereby allowing out-of-state renewable energy resources to submit bids. Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources issued the RFP in September 2010; bids were due in October and contracts will be submitted for approval in March 2011. Legislation passed in August 2012 amended the long-term contracting provisions, and an order released in March 2013 approved a timetable for two solicitations between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2016.

S.B. 2768 also established the alternative energy portfolio standard (APS), which requires meeting 5% of Massachusetts' electric load with "alternative energy" by 2020. Legislation passed in August 2012 requires that the state's executive office of energy and environmental affairs study adding technologies that generate "useful thermal energy" to the list of eligible technologies under this standard. That study will be completed by the end of December 2012. For more information on the existing standard, see Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard.


*The Solar Carve-Out Minimum Standard is 0.0680% (e) of sales by 12/31/2010. This standard is a portion of the Class I standard, not an addition to the standard.

**In August 2012, the DOER issued the final biomass regulation after more than two years of studying, public input and review. See the "Biomass Policy Regulatory Process" web site for additional, specific information.

***For 2010, the Solar Carve-Out compliance obligation was approximately 30 megawatts (MW) (DC), equivalent to a Solar Carve-Out Minimum Standard of 0.0679%. The Solar Carve-Out compliance obligation for compliance year 2011 was approximately 69 MW, equivalent to a Solar Carve-Out Minimum Standard of 0.1627%. The 2012 Solar Carve-Out compliance obligation is approximately 71 MW. The 2013 Solar Carve-Out compliance obligation is approximately 118 MW.

**** Waste energy is defined as the electrical energy created from combustion of municipal solid waste.

******The respective renewable energy certificates (RECs) are issued by the New England Power Pool Generation Information System (NEPOOL-GIS) and are technically called GIS Certificates. History

Massachusetts' 1997 electric-utility restructuring legislation created the framework for a renewable portfolio standard (RPS). In April 2002, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) adopted RPS regulations that required all retail electricity providers in the state to utilize new renewable-energy sources for at least 1% of their power supply in 2003, increasing to 4% by 2009. The RPS was significantly expanded by legislation enacted in July 2008 (Green Communities Act S.B. 2768); this legislation established two separate renewable standards -- a standard for “Class I” renewables, and a standard for “Class II” renewables -- as well as an alternative portfolio standard.
Residential Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Personal Tax Credit Yes State/Territory Massachusetts allows a 15% credit -- up to $1,000 -- against the state income tax for the net expenditure* of a renewable-energy system (including installation costs) installed on an individual’s primary residence. If the credit amount is greater than a resident's income tax liability, the excess credit amount may be carried forward to the next succeeding year for up to three years. Eligible technologies include solar water and space heating, photovoltaics (PV), and wind-energy systems. The original use of the system must begin with the taxpayer, and the system should “reasonably be expected to remain in operation for at least five years.”

The credit is available to any owner or tenant of residential property. For a newly constructed home, the credit is available to the original owner/occupant. Joint owners of a residential property shall share any credit available to the property under this subsection in the same proportion as their ownership interest. Any excess credit amount may be carried over to the next 1-3 taxable years.




* The term "net expenditure" is defined as the total of the purchase price for any renewable energy source property and installation cost less any federal tax credits and rebates/grants received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC-I) (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Performance-Based Incentive Yes State/Territory 'NOTE: In April 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) issued final changes to its RPS Class I and RPS Solar Carve-Out programs. 'These changes resulted in the establishment of the RPS Solar Carve-Out II Program and marked the close of the application period for the RPS Solar Carve-Out Program. Any new solar projects may seek qualification under the RPS Solar Carve-Out II Program.


Massachusetts' renewables portfolio standard (RPS) requires each regulated electricity supplier/provider serving retail customers in the state* to include in the electricity it sells 15% qualifying renewables by December 31, 2020. The RPS was significantly expanded by legislation enacted in July 2008 (S.B. 2768), which established two separate renewable standards -- a standard for “Class I” renewables, and a standard for “Class II” renewables. The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) regulates the RPS and developed corresponding rules. In January 2011, final rules were implemented for the state's Solar Carve-Out program, which is the portion of the required renewable energy under the Class I Standard that must come from qualified, in-state, interconnected solar facilities.

Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) represent the renewable attributes of solar generation, bundled in minimum denominations of one megawatt-hour (MWh) of production. Massachusetts' Solar Carve-Out provides a means for SRECs to be created and verified, and allows electric suppliers to buy these certificates in order to meet their solar RPS requirements. All electric suppliers must use SRECs to demonstrate compliance with the RPS. The price of SRECs is determined primarily by market availability, although the DOER has created a certain amount of market stability by establishing a state Solar Credit Clearinghouse Auction (where prices are fixed at $300/MWh minus a 5% administrative fee, for a total of $285/MWh), as well as the Solar Alternative Compliance Payment (SACP) for the state RPS (set at $523/MWh for 2014). The Solar Credit Clearinghouse should only be utilized if or when SREC generators cannot sell their SRECs on the open market. To date, the Solar Credit Clearinghouse has only been utilized in 2013 and 2014.


Only solar-electric facilities built after January 1, 2008, may be qualified to generate SRECs. SRECs are generated on or after January 1, 2010, since that is the date the Solar Carve-Out program took effect. Generators must apply and receive a statement of qualification (SQ) from the DOER and must establish an account with NEPOOL GIS in order to participate in this program. Facilities that received funding prior to the effective date of the Solar Carve-Out from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust or the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, or received more than 67% of project funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, are ineligible.

The SACP is set at $523/MWh (2014). The SACP was amended in 2013 and now includes a schedule. The schedule is (in $/MWh):


2012: $550


2013: $550


2014: $523


2015: $496


2016: $472


2017: $448


2018: $426


2019: $404


2020: $384


2021: $365


2022: $347


2023: $330


2024: $330

The Solar Carve-Out program was originally intended to support approximately 400 MW of solar facilities in Massachusetts. The program was expanded in June 2013 with the issuance of an emergency regulation that extended eligibility to projects beyond the 400 MW cap that had met certain development milestones. Approximately 659 MW ended up qualifying under the Solar Carve-Out. Once the opt-in term for all solar facilities has expired, SRECs will no longer be generated. Solar facilities will at that time generate renewable energy credits (RECs) and will be able to sell those for compliance under the Class I standard.


* This does not include municipal light districts.
Solid Waste Disposal Facilities (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province These sections articulate rules for the maintenance and operation of solid waste disposal facilities, as well as site assignment procedures. Applications for site assignment will be reviewed by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection as well as the Department of Public Health, and local Boards of Health in host or abutting municipalities. Judgments regarding the suitability of proposed sites will consider the proximity of surface water sources and groundwater, the proximity of residential areas and availability of access roads, and the potential for adverse impacts on air quality, public health, traffic patterns, agricultural uses of nearby land, and wildlife. The proximity of other solid waste disposal facilities will also be considered. Regulations pertaining to this chapter can be found in 310 CMR 16.00 (site assignment) and 19.00 (facility regulations).
Solid Waste Facilities Regulations (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province This chapter of the Massachusetts General Laws governs the operation of solid waste facilities. It seeks to encourage sustainable waste management practices and to mitigate adverse effects, such as mercury release, from solid waste disposal. Included are regulations pertaining to combustion of waste. Regulations pertaining to this chapter can be found in 310 CMR 16.00 (site assignment) and 19.00 (facility regulations).
Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant - Residential PV Rebate Program (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Utility Rebate Program Yes Utility Customers of Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant (TMLP) may be eligible for $2.00/watt rebate on solar photovoltaic (PV) installations. The minimum system size eligible for this rebate is 1 kilowatt (kW) and the maximum size is 2.5 kW. The minimum rebate is therefore $2,000 and the maximum rebate is $5,000. The system must be installed on a single family dwelling residence and the customer must be the owner of the PV system and be current on his/her electric bill. This is a first-come, first-served program with a limited budget, so customers are encouraged to verify funding levels prior to making financial decisions.
Toxics Use Reduction Act (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province This Act, revised significantly in 2006, seeks to mitigate the use of toxic substances and the production of toxic byproducts through reporting requirements as well as resource conservation plans and environmental management systems for businesses. Regulations pertaining to this act can be found in 310 CMR 50.00.
Water Management Act (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province This Act regulates and registers water withdrawals in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to enable effective planning and management of water use and conservation. The Act establishes a Water Resources Management Advisory Committee within the MA Department of Environmental Protection to oversee the development of standards, rules and regulations for water resources management. The DEP, after consultation with the advisory committee and with the approval of the commission, shall adopt such regulations as it deems necessary for the purposes of this chapter, establishing a mechanism for managing ground and surface water in the commonwealth as a single hydrological system and ensuring, where necessary, a balance among competing water withdrawals and uses. Additionally, this Act requires certificates to be obtained prior to any well drilling activity. These regulations can be found in the Water Management Policy: http://www.mass.gov/dep/water/approvals/appendix.pdf. Regulations regarding this Act, which comprise the Water Resources Management Program, can be found in 310 CMR 36.00, 313 CMR 2.00, 4.00, and 5.00.
Wetlands Protection Act (Massachusetts) Massachusetts Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province This Act establishes regulations regarding the removal, dredging, filling, and altering of land bordering waters, allowing such activity only with permits and in certain situations. Specific regulations relevant to this Act can be found in 310 CMR 10.00 (general regulations), 12.00 (coastal wetlands), 13.00 (inland wetlands), and 23.00 (abandoned cranberry bogs).