Solar PV and Agriculture Information
The SMART Program
In 2018, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (MA DOER) established the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program 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 fact sheets and information on this website were developed by UMass Clean Energy Extension to help farmers and solar developers navigate the SMART program. The full regulation and guidelines which govern the program are available on the MA DOER website. Additional information, including application instructions, is available at http://masmartsolar.com.
SMART Program Incentives
The SMART program promotes installation of certain types of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays through incentives based on a fixed price per kWh of electricity generated. 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; these systems are known as Agricultural Solar Tariff Generation Units, or ASTGUs
- Ground-mounted solar arrays designed to meet on-farm electricity needs or serve the larger community
SMART Solar and Agriculture Fact Sheets
The following fact sheets address various aspects of solar development on farms under the SMART program:
Fact sheets outlining general considerations for solar PV on farms and other properties:
- Solar PV Options for Your Farm: An Overview
- Location Considerations for Ground-Mounted Solar PV Arrays
- Legal and Financial Considerations for Solar PV Arrays
- Contract Negotiations for Solar PV Facility Agreements
- SMART Program Incentives for Solar Arrays
Fact sheets relating specifically to dual-use solar PV and agriculture:
- Dual-Use: Agriculture and Solar Photovoltaics
- Dual-Use: Farm Operations Considerations
- Dual-Use: Crops and Livestock Considerations
Resources for cranberry growers: CLICK HERE.
Please contact us with any questions you have after reviewing this material. Fact sheets, additional tools, program news and updates, and further guidance will be posted on our website as we develop them.
- Financial Analysis: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has funded recent work by Hyperion Systems, LLC to develop a financial tool for comparing costs and benefits of a dual-use system with those of a traditional solar PV array.
- Foundation Systems: Professor Alan Lutenegger of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering conducted a field study of the behavior of diffferent foundation systems for elevated ground-mounted solar PV panel systems. The work was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Stephen Herbert.
A Joint Effort
UMass Clean Energy Extension is working 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 producing clean energy.