SMART for Dummies

What is the SMART program?

Solar MAssachusetts Renewable Target, or SMART, is Massachusetts’ newest solar incentive program. Since November of 2018, SMART has been giving solar system owners an extra performance-based compensation, on top of their already offset electricity costs. SMART tariffs are held at fixed rates and are determined at the time of your solar system’s interconnection to the grid. Once a solar owner enters the program, they will receive this fixed bonus incentive for 20 years.

When should I join?

The SMART program is constructed using a “block” structure. Each block has a 200 megawatt cumulative capacity, meaning once enough systems are installed to fill that block, new solar system owners will be entered into the next block with a lower incentive rate. Once all 8 blocks fill, no more applications will be accepted for that particular utility provider and size category. Since earlier blocks receive higher compensation rates, the quicker you join, the more money you make on your solar production.

The diagram above shows blocks 1 and 2 have filled up, and applications for block 3 incentive rates are currently being accepted. Block 4 will be next after 3 has filled.

Where are the best places to go solar?

Currently, customers of Eversource East will receive the highest incentive rates, because less of their blocks have filled up. Check here to see if your town is included!

However, other areas in Massachusetts can still be great candidates thanks to our state’s solar-friendly legislation. Exploring solar on your property is always worth looking into!

Where does my SMART rate come from?

The table below lists SMART rates based on three factors: (1) block, (2) system size, and (3) utility provider. The compensation values from the chart are provided by the MA Department of Energy Resources (DOER). Calculating a system’s SMART rate is a little tricky; it is equal to your original electricity cost subtracted from the SMART tariff that applies to you (from chart below).

What are SMART adders?

Adders are a fantastic perk in the SMART program. They are monetary bonuses that boost your SMART rate, giving you even more money per kWh you produce. They are based on the system location, system type, and other system add-ons like battery storage. You can receive extra money from your system for installing solar in the following ways:

You can also qualify for additional money by installing:

Here you can find the list of additional money you will gain on top of your base rate for meeting these criteria.

So how do I calculate how much money I will make from SMART?

Simply add up your incentives rates (SMART block rate + any adders), and subtract it from your current electricity rate to get your performance based incentive rate.

For example, a 300 kW System that produces 310,000 kWh per year:

* This is the net amount that you will be receiving per kWh

Keep in mind that these savings are from SMART alone, your system will also be eligible for a 30% investment tax credit, as well as one year accelerated depreciation, enabling you to regain up to 56% of your investment in the first year.

Intrigued by the extra money you could be earning? Get in touch with us today to learn more!

Text or call 978-886-3155, or visit us online.

Author: Taylor Frothingham and Jill DiMeo – Taylor is a Solar Analyst for NRGTree and Jill is a Digital Operations and Marketing Intern.

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