On April 18, 2013 Cadmus staff attended the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) conference in Baltimore, MD. Featured at the conference was a panel discussion of net metering and new finance and policy approaches. Cadmus associate, Erin Sweet, was one of three panelists in this session. Her presentation, entitled “The System of Assurance of Net Metering Eligibility: Early Experiences and Lessons Learned,” drew from Cadmus’ experiences as the developer and administrator of the Massachusetts’ System of Assurance, commonly called the “net metering queue.” Ms. Sweet highlighted distributed generation stakeholders’ historic concerns regarding the availability of net metering services at the time of a project’s interconnection and how 2012 Massachusetts regulations help increase transparency and investor confidence.

Cadmus’ Erin Sweet on the Net Metering and New Finance and Policy Approaches panel at ASES’ Solar 2013

Cadmus’ Erin Sweet on the Net Metering and New Finance and Policy Approaches panel at ASES’ Solar 2013

Working collaboratively with DG stakeholders, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities’ (DPU) developed the System of Assurance of Net Metering Eligibility. This net metering queue ensures that businesses, communities, and other entities developing these facilities will be eligible for net metering services when their projects are complete, assuming they can meet and maintain certain requirements. This web-based application system is now located at www.MassACA.org.
This unique system represents a means to smoothly and efficiently approach a cap on an important incentive. Following the presentation, conference attendees shared positive feedback on the Commonwealth’s approach, and speculated on the applicability of such a system to other, similar capped incentive programs. With 43 states in the U.S. having already established some form of net metering, it may not be long until stakeholders in other states are looking for certainty that their project will receive this important incentive; and the System of Assurance provides a window into one state’s solution.

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources has announced the 10 communities that will participate in Round 1 of the 2013 Solarize Mass program. The Solarize Mass program is designed to increase the adoption of solar and drive down the overall cost through widespread participation. The more people in a particular community who participate, the greater the savings for everyone in that community.

The following cities and towns are participating in Round 1 of the 2013 Solarize Mass program: Bourne, Brookline, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Lee, Medford, Medway, Newton, Northampton, and Williamstown; with Carlisle and Chelmsford participating as a group.

In the 2012 rounds of Solarize Mass, 17 communities participated with nearly 750 residents and businesses signing contracts to install solar PV systems for a combined capacity of 4.8 megawatts (MW). Last year participants saved an average of 20 percent when compared to the statewide average cost of installing solar PV, all while creating 32 new jobs. Due to state incentive programs, such as Solarize Mass, installed costs of residential solar PV dropped by more than a quarter in 2012; helping the state reach its goal of achieving 250 MW of solar PV by 2017, with 243 MW installed to date.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Green Communities Competitive Grant Program have recently announced the 2013 round of funding available to eligible communities with qualifying projects. Up to $4 million is available for the 2013 Competitive Grant round. An eligible community can receive a maximum grant award of $250,000. Eligibility criteria are as follows:
• Applicant must be an existing designated Green Community as of January 30, 2013.
• Applicant must have expended all existing Green Communities grant funding, submitted a complete final grant report and satisfied all outstanding questions no later than 5:00 PM March 22, 2013.
• Applicant must have completed an Annual Report and satisfied all outstanding questions no later than 5:00 PM March 15, 2013.
• Applicant must have adopted the latest guidance for the Fuel Efficient Vehicles Policy, Criteria 4.
To be considered for a grant award, applicants must complete all required sections ONLINE by 5:00 PM March 29, 2013. (Application information is available at http://www.comm-PASS.com. Select the Solicitation tab, then select Search for Solicitation, then search for document number PON-ENE-2013-021.). For a list of qualified projects, see the Qualified Projects section of the Grant Application Information

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) recently announced $250,000 in grant funding for school districts, municipalities, and water/wastewater districts pursuing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Entities may use these funds specifically for Owner’s Agent Technical Assistance (OATA) as they explore opportunities for solar PV projects, energy management services, building audits, and other engineering studies.

Owner’s Agents can play a significant role in the implementation of energy projects. During the pre-development phase, Owner’s Agents frequently provide a variety of technical services, including project feasibility, site selection, and technical design review. Owner’s Agents can also provide guidance through the bid and procurement process, contract negotiations, and ongoing stakeholder relations. Owner’s Agents are versed in the technical, economic, and process-related elements of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, and they often bridge the technical gap between project developers and the entities that they are doing business with.

Maximum individual awards are capped at $12,500, and are allocated for (from DOER’s Grant Application):
• Solar PV systems no less than 15 kW in size on property owned by the applicant
• Energy management services, i.e. energy savings performance contracts
• AHRAE Level 2 audits in oil or propane heated buildings only
• Engineering studies for more efficient heating systems (e.g. conversion from steam to hot water; NOT a more efficient boiler) or conversion to renewable or alternative fuel sourced heating system.

DOER will award these funds on a first come first serve basis. Applications may be submitted beginning February 4th at 9am. The application can be found on DOER’s website at http://www.mass.gov/energy/greencommunities under “Publications and Reports” and at http://www.comm-PASS.com by searching for solicitation PON-ENE-2013-019.

Cadmus has provided Owner’s Agent technical assistance services to more than 50 Massachusetts cities and towns in various stages of renewable energy project development, including solar PV, solar thermal, wind, and other technology types. For more information about Cadmus’ services and qualifications in this space, please contact Erin Sweet at 617.673.7101 or Erin.Sweet@cadmusgroup.com.

Massachusetts cities and towns interested in community adoption of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects are now able to submit proposals demonstrating interest and engagement in participating in Round 1 of the 2013 Solarize Massachusetts program.  This program is organized by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER).  It is designed to drive down the cost of small-scale solar PV installations within selected communities through a partnership focused on localized marketing and installation efforts and capturing economies of scale. 

There will be two rounds of the Solarize Mass program in 2013.  During each round, MassCEC and DOER will select a minimum of eight communities (or groups of communities) to participate.  Communities may apply to one or both rounds, but selected communities can only participate in the program once.

Timeline for Round 1 of the Solarize Mass

Solarize Mass RFP to Communities:   Released

January 16, 2013

DOER Solarize Mass Webinar

January 23, 2013

Community RFP Questions: Due

February 4, 2013

Community Expression of Interest: Due

February 7, 2013

Community RFP FAQ: Posted

February 11, 2013

Solarize Mass RFP to Communities:   Proposals Due

By 4:00pm on February 20, 2013.

Announce Selected Communities   (Targeted)

March 14, 2013

For more details about Solarize Mass visit www.SolarizeMass.comClick here to access the solicitation documents, including the Request for Proposals, and learn more about how to apply for Round 1 of the program.

On June 15th, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) will be holding its Clean Energy Connections event at the Conference Center at Massasoit Community College in Brockton. Through this event, DOER seeks to learn from clean energy project implementers about their experiences, their leadership role in this growing sector, and areas where DOER and other clean energy stakeholders can help maintain the momentum in clean energy investment in the Commonwealth.

The agenda for this event can be found here. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

DOER is encouraging attendance for the entire day to ensure an engaging and fruitful dialogue in the morning roundtable discussions and in the afternoon interactive workshop sessions.  

The Conference Center at Massasoit is located at 770 Crescent Street (Route 27) in Brockton – on the Whitman line – and is accessible from Routes 3 and 24.  There is ample free parking and nearby accommodations for overnight guests.

Massachusetts cities and towns seeking technical assistance with their energy efficiency or solar PV projects may be interested in the Department of Energy Resources’ (DOER) recent solicitation for Owner’s Agent Technical Assistance (PON-ENE-2012-014). Municipalities can apply for Owner’s Agents Technical Assistance to support their solar power purchase agreements (PPA) or energy-efficiency performance contract (ESCO) projects.

DOER anticipates awarding 10-15 municipalities up to $10,000 worth of technical assistance services. Grants are awarded on a first-come first-serve basis, and applications are due by June 29, 2012 at 5:00 PM.