Massachusetts Solar Initiative
Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) is a billion-dollar incentive program that provides monthly payments to solar photovoltaic (PV) customers and supports the clean energy goals of Eversource and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
This incentive program, jointly sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), Eversource and other Massachusetts utility companies is expected to be the catalyst for more than 3,200 megawatts of solar energy production statewide.
Eligible Solar Projects
To qualify, your PV solar energy system must be smaller than 5 MW, connected to the Eversource Massachusetts grid and installed after Jan. 1, 2018.
Your solar installer will help you apply for the SMART program by submitting the program application on your behalf.
SMART Incentive Rate
The SMART incentive rate is determined by DOER when your system is approved for the program. Your solar contractor, who should be knowledgeable of the SMART regulations, should provide you with an estimate of your incentive rate.
For systems under 25 kW, DOER determines the SMART incentive rate using this formula:
Base Compensation Rate + Storage Adder - Value of Energy = SMART incentive rate
Base Compensation Rate: Determined by the date you applied to the SMART program, where in Massachusetts your system is located and whether you qualify for our low-income discount rate.
SMART uses a capacity block declining compensation schedule. As each capacity block reaches its maximum capacity, newer projects will receive a lower incentive. This means the date of your SMART application directly affects your rate.
Energy Storage Adder: Calculated based on the size of any energy storage system (i.e. battery storage) that you might install.
More solar projects in Massachusetts are taking advantage of this incentive as storage becomes more affordable.
Value of Energy: Estimated savings you're expected to achieve for every kWh of energy produced by your solar system, based on the average cost of electricity you paid over the past 3 years.
This value of energy is subtracted from the SMART incentive calculation to avoid double compensating system owners for the energy they produce.
Once the SMART incentive rate is determined it is multiplied by the monthly production of your PV system as measured by your Eversource solar meter. Here is an example of this calculation:
SMART Incentive Rate ($0.10721) x Solar Production for the Month (387 kWh) = $41.49 Total SMART Incentive Payment
Your incentive payment is distributed monthly by mail or by direct deposit into your bank account. SMART payments are provided monthly for 10 years for systems less than 25kW and are in addition to any net metering credits earned on your monthly bill.
Who Owns the System?
If you agreed to a lease or power purchase agreement when you installed your panels, it means you are not the owner of the system even if it's located on your property. In this case, it's likely that a third party will receive the monthly SMART incentive payment, not you.
Your solar system installer starts the process by submitting a SMART application before installation and then a SMART claim after your system is interconnected to the Eversource grid and approved to operate. You will also need to submit a W-9 tax form.
You will typically get your first SMART incentive payment about 2 months after Eversource receives confirmation that DOER has approved your claim.
Incentive payments are calculated back to the day your system received permission to operate, so you might receive several months’ worth of incentives for your first payment.
You can track the status of your SMART application and claim by asking your installer to add you as a recipient of notifications from the SMART application portal.
Once approved, you will receive an email each month showing how your payment was calculated. You will also be given a PIN to enter on the SMART payment website to quickly view all your incentives and history details.
Battery Storage Incentive
The SMART program is the first in the nation to provide additional incentives for solar installations that include energy storage. Adding a battery lets you store excess power produced by your solar system for later use and can provide backup power during outages. Plus you can take advantage of additional incentives for using an eligible battery system during times of peak demand.
Battery systems can add significant cost to your solar installation. Consult with your solar installer to determine an eligible storage system that's right for you. DOER requires you to submit your battery performance data annually. Ask your solar installer if they will help with the submission.
The monthly SMART incentive payment is only one part of the total value of your solar installation. You will also benefit from reduced energy bills and any net metering credits for excess energy exported to the grid.
The federal government offers a credit of up to 26% of qualifying project costs (declining to 22% in 2021 then zero in 2022).
Massachusetts offers personal income tax credits up to $1,000 or 15 percent of qualifying project costs, whichever is less.
Consult with your tax advisor to see if you qualify for these tax credits.
For general questions about your SMART application and claim, please contact the SMART program administrator, CLEAResult, at 888-989-7752 or email MA.SMART@clearesult.com
For questions about your SMART incentive payments, please contact the Eversource solar team at 844-726-7573 or email SMART@eversource.com.