Massachusetts has long been a leader in advancing renewable energy policy and programs designed to drive more commercial development to the state. Thanks to these programs, including the commonly referenced Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target(SMART) program, commercial energy users in Massachusetts have several options to reduce costs and forward sustainability goals. With sustainability commitments and increasing pressure from clients, investors, employees, and patrons to become more sustainable, it is more important than ever to understand all the options and incentives available to your business.
What is SMART?
The Massachusetts SMART program is a Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) incentive program designed to support the development of 3,200 MW of solar in the state. Under SMART, solar project system owners are paid a fixed rate per kilowatt hour directly by one of the three participating utility companies for the electricity that the projects produce. At the commercial level, eligible projects can generate significant revenue and make the investment in on-site solar generation worthwhile.
How can your Massachusetts business or organization benefit from solar?
Power Purchase Agreements and Virtual PPAs
A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) or a Virtual PPA are a great way to take advantage of renewable energy attributes while avoiding upfront costs. Under a PPA arrangement, the developer will design, permit, and finance the project at little to no cost to your business. Often, through the power purchase agreement, your business can secure low cost, fixed price electricity from an onsite system that feeds directly into your facility, allowing for a significant reduction in carbon emissions in support of your sustainability goals and protection from increased energy costs.
A Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) provides a mechanism for a business to secure electricity and environmental attributes from a renewable energy system that is located offsite. This is a great option for those with facility limitations or who rent their space.
Through a VPPA, the electricity is fed into the utility grid and sold on the wholesale market. Your business retains the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) and pays a small varying price dependent upon the wholesale market rates. This is a great option to secure local RECs in support of your emissions reduction goals and sustainability initiatives.Community Solar Solutions
Under the umbrella of the SMART program, Community Solar is an approach to renewable energy that allows businesses unable to install solar onsite to take advantage of the benefits of renewables. Nearly 75% of Massachusetts businesses and residents are not able to install solar onsite, thereby making Community Solar a favorable alternative. Through Community Solar, businesses can subscribe to the output of local solar farms and receive 10% savings on their utility bills while also supporting local renewable energy generation.
With continued focus on environmental and sustainability goals, businesses are seeking simple and cost-effective strategies to help achieve their goals.
One common approach is the use of EGreen certified electricity and natural gas contracts. Through an EGreen contract, your business can buy additional RECs from the source of your choosing to offset up to 100% of your electricity and natural gas load. These contracts are part of your competitive supply agreement and are a low-cost way to realize carbon neutrality.
Please reach out to your Freedom Energy Advisor to learn more about solar programs and your renewable energy options.