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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs)   

Last DSIRE Review: 03/01/2013
Program Overview:
State: Massachusetts
Incentive Type: Performance-Based Incentive
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Photovoltaics
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Tribal Government, Fed. Government, Agricultural, Institutional
Amount:Varies, depending on market supply and demand
Maximum Incentive:2013 compliance year: Alternative Compliance Payment Rate is $550 per MWh (~$0.55 per kWh)
Eligible System Size:6 MW (DC) or less
Start Date:2010
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
M.G.L. ch. 25A, ยง 11F
1997 (subsequently amended)
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
225 CMR 14.00 (Final)

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 is soliciting comments from March 1 to March 25, 2013. 

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 $550/MWh for 2012). The Solar Credit Clearinghouse will only be utilized if or when SREC generators cannot sell their SRECs on the open market. To date, the Solar Credit Clearinghouse has not been utilized.

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 $550 (2012). The SACP will decrease only if DOER determines this is necessary based on market conditions; it will not be reduced by more than 10% in any year. The SACP was amended and now includes a 10-year schedule (final rules must be promulgated).  The schedule is:

2012: $550

2013: $550

2014: $523

2015: $496

2016: $472

2017: $448

2018: $426

2019: $404

2020: $384

2021: $365

The Solar Carve-Out program is intended to support approximately 400 MW of solar facilities in Massachusetts. Once the state reaches that goal, and 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.

  Massachusetts Solar Carve-Out Information
Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER)
100 Cambridge St., Suite 1020
Boston, MA 02114
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2013 - 2014 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.