Solar Siting & Financing
At CEE, we are working on a variety of projects related to ensuring solar development benefits the Commonwealth and the common good:
As a renewable energy leader, Massachusetts has created a series of solar-incentive programs that have led to the development of over 2,500 MW of solar capacity. But despite significant progress, the state faces challenges in meeting its greenhouse gas reduction commitments while maintaining reasonable electricity rates and ensuring solar benefits local community residents. Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory Solar Energy Innovation Network, CEE has been working with a large team of committed partners to develop a Community Planning for Solar toolkit, designed to put rural residents and their municipal representatives in a proactive planning position through identification of preferred sites for solar development and identification of local community benefits, ownership, and financing opportunities. The toolkit is available HERE.
The Massachusetts RPS Solar Carve-Out II (aka SREC II) program supported the development of more than 1,700 MW of solar capacity in Massachusetts, distributed across more than 75,000 solar installations. While the solar program brought meaningful benefits to state residents in terms of jobs, business creation, and greenhouse gas reductions, the distribution of economic benefits stemming from the solar projects had not previously been considered. Through a grant from the UMass Institute for Social Science Research, in 2020, CEE conducted an equity evaluation to better understand the costs and benefits of the program for the state economy. The research focused on tracking the distribution of cash flows (costs and benefits) from SREC II solar projects to members of the local economy (e.g. local residents, businesses, non-profits, and government agencies) and outside financiers (including third-party, nationally-based solar companies and affiliated equity investors). For more information and preliminary results from the study, click HERE.
We continue to gather information and resources relevant to solar planning and permitting for municipal representatives and board members HERE.