Back to top

Cash Flow Returns from the MA RPS Solar Carve-Out II Program


With support from a seed grant from the UMass Institute for Social Science Research, CEE conducted an equity evaluation of the completed Massachusetts SREC II program to focus on the distribution of the economic benefits of the project cash flows that accrue to both local and external participants.

The SREC II program supported more than 1,700 MW of solar capacity in Massachusetts, distributed across more than 75,000 solar installations.  While the solar program has brought meaningful benefits to Massachusetts in jobs, business creation, and greenhouse gas reductions, this distribution of economic benefits afforded by the project cash flows have not been well considered or analyzed.

The analysis establishes a model to track how project cash flow are distributed across recipient classes, solar project types, and ownership/financing arrangements, and aggregates these cash flows over the 1700 MW installed based on the state database of qualified projects.  Our findings support our hypothesis that the economic benefits generated in the SREC II program accrue most substantially to third-party, nationally based solar companies and affiliated project equity investors, particularly in the commercial and community shared solar sectors, and that more local distribution of economic benefits accrue in the portion of the residential solar market where projects are directly owned by homeowners.


  • A draft white paper on the analysis is available here
  • The spreadsheet model of the cash flow analysis of the SREC II program is available here
  • A presentation on the project to the UMass Department of Economics is available here.

Further Work

The research analysis has contributed to the doctoral dissertation work of Emma Grazier in the Department of Resource Economics.  The analytical model and framework have formed the basis for continued modeling of solar project cash flow distributions as part of CEE’s work on NREL SEIN project on Community-Informed Proactive Solar Siting and Financing.