What's an SREC?
Under the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS), a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) represents the positive environmental attributes associated with clean energy production. Retail electricity suppliers are required to purchase a certain number of RECs each year to comply with the RPS. A Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) is a type of REC that is specifically designated for energy output from eligible solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. SRECs have a significantly higher market value than other RECs. To earn SRECs, the production from your solar PV system must be reported to the Production Tracking System (PTS).
The RPS is a regulation that is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER).
While new solar systems aren't eligible to participate in the SREC programs, many existing systems were qualified to generate SRECs. The following information pertains to systems that have already been qualified to generate SRECs.
RPS Solar Carve-Out and SREC I
On January 1, 2010, regulations were filed that established a requirement for a portion of the RPS Class I renewable energy requirement to come from solar PV energy. This carve-out supported over 650 megawatts of new solar PV energy facilities across the Commonwealth. The program stopped accepting new applications with the launch of the RPS Solar Carve-Out II Program in April 2014.
- Eligible facilities generate SRECs for 40 calendar quarters, after which they generate Class I RECs.
- To generate one SREC, an eligible system must produce 1000 kWh of electricity.
RPS Solar Carve-Out II and SREC II
The second phase of the Solar Carve-Out program began with the promulgation of changes to the RPS Class I Regulation on April 25, 2014. The program was originally designed to continue supporting new solar PV installations until 1,600 MW of capacity was installed across the entire Commonwealth, but was extended as DOER was developing a successor incentive program. The SMART Program officially launched on November 26, 2018, marking the last day solar systems in Massachusetts were able to qualify for the SREC II Program.
- Eligible facilities generate SREC-IIs for 40 calendar quarters from the time they are qualified, after which they generate Class I RECs.
- The amount of energy needed to generate one SREC-II is dependent on the system’s SREC factor, which is a multiplier ranging from 0.5 to 1.0. The factor is applied to the production in kWh to determine the number of SREC-IIs generated. A system needs to generate 1000 kWh after the factor is applied to generate one SREC-II.
Production Tracking System (PTS) Registration, Transfers, Updates and Aggregations
The Production Tracking System (PTS), managed by MassCEC, has been designated by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) as the sole and required independent verifier for the SREC I and II programs. To earn SRECs, systems must be properly registered with DOER and PTS, and their electricity production must be reported to PTS.
The SREC I and SREC II programs are now both closed and are not accepting new applications or additional capacity.
Transfer of System Ownership or Aggregation
If you transfer ownership of your solar system when you move, or if you decide to work with a different aggregator, you or your aggregator will need to notify DOER so that they can update their records and make sure that the correct individual or aggregation receives the SRECs. If you are working with an aggregator, you should first contact them so they can handle the transfer process for you. DOER will process your request once they receive a Change Request Form, a REC Services Agreement, and documentation of the transfer via email at DOER.SREC@mass.gov. Once DOER approves the transfer, they will notify PTS to update their database.
Please note that the decision to transfer SRECs at the time of a property sale is up to the buyer and seller of the property.
System Information Updates
If you need to update the equipment information or make another correction to your system information on file, you will also need to let DOER know by sending a Change Request Form to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are working with an aggregator, you should first contact them so they can handle the request for you.
Expansions to qualified projects are generally not permitted under the Solar Carve-Out or Solar Carve-Out II Program at this time. Expansions to a system that are interconnected after November 26, 2018 must seek qualification under the SMART Program and will be required to have a separate production meter, which will be owned by the local distribution company. Questions regarding expansions should be directed to DOER at DOER.SREC@mass.gov.
Reporter changes can be submitted to PTS at email@example.com.
Information on Aggregators & Traders/Brokers
Owners of qualified solar PV systems of any size may establish accounts on the NEPOOL GIS, and actively participate in the marketing and selling of SRECs. However, owners may find it easier to become part of an aggregation, which typically represent a number of PV systems and owners. Aggregators will submit an application to DOER for qualification, establish an account at NEPOOL GIS, and market and sell its members' SRECs. DOER encourages systems of all sizes to take advantage of aggregations; however, each owner should be aware of and carefully consider the aggregation's contract terms and fees.
Reporting Production to PTS
Production must be reported to PTS monthly in order to remain SREC compliant. The reporting window is open for 10 days each month: the last 5 days of the month through the first 5 days of the following month. Reporting can occur at any point during this 10-day window. Not reporting metered data during the reporting period may result in forfeiture of SRECs that would have otherwise been generated during the unreported period.
All generation from qualified solar projects participating in the SREC market must be individually metered and production must be reported to the PTS. NEPOOL GIS Rule 2.5(j) states that only "revenue grade" (also called "revenue quality") meters tested and certified to ANSI C-12 standards are allowed to report generation data. Please reference MassCEC's approved meter list. To apply to have a new revenue grade meter added to MassCEC’s approved meter list, please fill out the meter application and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Data Acquisition System (DAS) Service Provider Requirements
For projects less than or equal to 25 kilowatts (kW) DC, data can be reported manually or automatically to the PTS. This requirement was modified from 10 kW DC effective January 2022.
For projects greater than 25 kW DC, data must be reported automatically through a Data Acquisition System (DAS) to the PTS. A list of approved Data Acquisition System (DAS) Service Providers is available. To apply to become an approved DAS Provider, please fill out the DAS application and submit it to email@example.com.
REC Minting and Sales Process
Reporting and Minting Timelines
MassCEC’s PTS team reports the SRECs (based on reported production) to NEPOOL GIS for minting once per calendar quarter, with a one quarter delay. Please see table for details.
Note: To guarantee receiving credit for production in a particular calendar quarter, you must ensure that all production from that quarter is reported to the PTS prior to the NEPOOL reporting deadlines listed in the table. If a quarter is reported to NEPOOL before missing production is prorated, any prorated production will not automatically be captured the following reporting quarter, which may result in a loss of SRECs.
SRECs Reported to NEPOOL
NEPOOL Mints SRECs
Pricing and Payments
SRECs are typically sold throughout the year at the going market rate. They also may be sold in the annual Solar Credit Clearinghouse Auction, which DOER holds at the end of each July (if necessary). The auction is designed to provide price support in the event that the market is oversupplied and owners are left holding unsold SRECs at the end of the trading year. SRECs deposited into the auction are sold at a fixed price, which is set according to a schedule established by DOER. If electricity providers do not meet their annual obligations to purchase SRECs, they would be required to make Alternate Compliance Payments (ACP). Therefore, SRECs should always sell below the ACP rate. For more information about the auction and ACP rates, see DOER’s website.
Receiving SREC payments from your aggregator can vary, in both timing and amount, by the contract you have with them and the market value of SRECs. We recommend you carefully review and compare contracts from the aggregators and choose which option is best for you. Questions about SREC payments should be directed to your aggregator.