January 31, 2017
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has released its new proposal to overhaul the state's solar incentive program. The proposed program, Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART), would replace the current SREC program. This new incentive program will lower costs for ratepayers, and provide stability for project developers by letting them know what their incentives will be for a long term period of 10-20 years. The program is structured so that smaller commercial and residential projects will get higher subsidies than larger commercial projects. Low-income and public benefit projects will also get better rates, as will projects built on land that can't be used for another purpose, such as brownfields, landfills, rooftops, or parking lot canopies, and projects paired with energy storage. Several solar advocacy groups released a joint press release in support of the proposed program. The current SREC program will continue through the end of the year while the SMART program goes through the state approval process. Read more here.
January 2, 2017
The 2016 RPS Summit included many presentations and discussions on solar.
December 28, 2016
Massachusetts is officially in line to join California and Oregon as the third state in the country to set energy storage procurement targets for utilities. Just before the close of 2016, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources announced that the state would be adopting procurement targets to be achieved by 2020. The department is now seeking stakeholder input on the scale and structure of energy storage targets to put in place. Read more here and here.
December 22, 2016
California Energy Commission Studies Barriers to Low-Income Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Adoption
The California Energy Commission has released a study on how to overcome barriers to low-income adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy. The study considers both barriers inherent to poverty, such as insufficient access to capital, and policy and programmatic barriers, such as data inadequacy. Recommendations include establishing a task force to coordinate efforts, making sure the benefits of community solar are available to low-income populations, and continuing to test financing options. Read the report here.
December 18, 2016
The Kresge Foundation announced $14 million in investments to several community development finance institutions and development finance agencies that are active in low-income communities, including organizations focused on expanding access to clean energy technologies. Among the investment recipients, the Connecticut Green Bank was awarded $3 million to support the installation of solar+storage in affordable housing and other facilities providing critical services in disadvantaged communities. Read more
December 12, 2016
The McKnight Lane Housing Development in Waltham, Vermont is doing what no affordable housing project has done before: It is offering rural, low-income tenants zero-energy, single-family housing that also includes resilient solar energy storage systems. You can read a project profile here, and a blog post about the project here.
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