The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), manages the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program which offers an additional compensation for solar energy production on top of electricity savings.
The SMART program promotes solar in the commonwealth through a per-kilowatt-hour (kWh) solar compensation rate for solar system owners. The rate of compensation is determined by several factors, and is paid directly from the utility to the system owner. Residential-scale systems (systems under 25 kW AC capacity) participate for 10 years from system installation, and receive the highest compensation rates within the SMART program.
SMART is a declining block program with separate compensation rates for customers in each of the three investor-owned utilities — Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil. A system owner's 10 year compensation rate is set at the time of installation based upon the utility and the current program block.
Municipal utilities participate in SMART in a different way. Homeowners served by a municipal utility, such as residents of Wellesley or Westfield, get their SMART compensation up-front at time of installation in the form of a one-time rebate. Rebate levels vary depending on the utility.
In the initial blocks of SMART, rates vary from about $.10 per kWh to almost $.15 per kWh in the under 25 kW, residential-scale size category. Rates for low income utility customers are slightly higher.
A well-sited residential 5 kilowatt (5 kW) PV system will generate approximately 6,000 kilowatt hours annually in MA. In Eversource East, that homeowner will save approximately $1400 a year in electricity costs, and earn another $900 a year in SMART compensation. Combined with federal and state tax credits, the utility saving and SMART compensation deliver 6 to 8 year paybacks for many homeowners.
To learn more about solar for your home, contact us to request a free solar assessment.
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