The Massachusetts Green Communities Act of 2008 created a carve-out in the Renewable Portfolio Standard to support distributed solar. Referred to as Solar Carve-Out II / SREC II, solar installations serving low-income customers received a higher ratio of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) for each megawatt hour produced from the solar installation compared to other customer installations. In other words, solar generation serving low-income customers got more SRECS per unit of energy produced, providing a larger cost offset. Massachusetts is in the process of updating the method by which incentives are awarded, and it is expected that a new model will continue to award higher incentives to projects serving low-income customers.
The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) have also developed the $30 million Massachusetts Solar Loan program, a low-income solar loan program through which the state will provide interest rate buy-downs and loan guarantees. The goal of the program is to provide loans that are cash-flow positive from day one, and provide risk protection for lenders who offer these loans to homeowners with lower credit ratings. The Solar Loan Program applies to homeowners, owner-occupied multifamily homes with three or fewer units, or residents interested in purchasing a share in a shared solar project. The Mass Solar Loan program launched December 2015. Visit www.masssolarloan.com for more information on this.