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Introduction to Solar PV on Farms under the SMART Program

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources’ (MA DOER) Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program serves as a successor to the state’s Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC II) program. SMART regulations took effect on November 26, 2018 and were updated via an Emergency Regulation in April 2020.  The regulation and guidelines which govern the program are available on the MA DOER website:

The SMART program promotes installation of certain types of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays through incentives based on a fixed price per kWh.  These incentives appear as a “tariff” payment provided to the solar array owner.  Solar thermal systems and off-grid solar PV do not qualify for incentives under this program. 

The SMART program provides incentives for a variety of different types of solar installations which might be built on farms, including:

  • Roof-mounted solar arrays installed on barns, farmhouses, greenhouses, or other farm buildings
  • Canopy solar arrays installed over parking lots, pedestrian walkways, or similar areas
  • Agricultural dual-use solar arrays designed to allow productive agricultural activities to continue under and between rows of solar panels
  • Ground-mounted solar arrays designed to meet on-farm electricity needs or serve the larger community

UMass Clean Energy Extension (CEE) works with UMass Agricultural Extension, MA DOER, Massachusetts Department of Agriculture Resources (MDAR), farming organizations and communities, solar developers, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to gather and communicate the latest information on how solar and agriculture can best work together to help support farms and farmers, while also producing clean energy.

SMART Solar and Farming Fact Sheets

The following fact sheets describe various aspects of integrating solar development on farms under the SMART program: