July 2, 2022

Volume XII, Number 183

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MA SMART Program: New Guidelines for Agricultural Solar Tariff Generation Units

On May 15, 2022, the latest revision of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER)  Guideline Regarding the Definition of Agricultural Solar Tariff Generation Units (Guideline) for the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program took effect. The Guideline supplements the SMART Program regulations (225 CMR 20.000), provides guidance on how a Solar Tariff Generation Unit (STGU) may qualify as an Agricultural Solar Tariff Generation Unit (ASTGU) under the SMART Program, and establishes compliance requirements for ASTGUs.

In general, ASTGUs are STGUs located either on land that is currently being used for agriculture or land that has been classified as Important Agricultural Farmland under 225 CMR 20.02 that allows the continued use of the land for agriculture. The SMART Program has a goal of reaching 80 megawatts (MW)AC capacity of ASTGU systems. ASTGUs receive adder value under the SMART Program.

The revised Guideline significantly increases the maximum AC rated capacity of an ASTGU to 5 MW from 2 MW. Further, the Guideline sets a DC to AC capacity ratio of 2:1 and caps projects to a DC capacity of 7.5 MW. 

The Guideline also establishes criteria for newly created farmland to be deemed eligible farmland on which an ASTGU could be located. Specifically, newly created farmland is eligible if it has established agricultural production before the date of the associated application to the SMART Program. However, newly created farmland that is the result of clearing or conversion of forest land is not eligible.

The Guideline also establishes a requirement for ASTGUs to submit annual agricultural productivity reports. These reports are required to show that the ASTGU continues to engage in commercial agriculture to retain and use the land primarily and directly for agricultural purposes.  In the event of reduced crop yields, waivers may be granted for good cause. If an ASTGU fails to comply with the reporting requirement, then it may lose its eligibility for the ASTGU adder for one or more years.

Copyright © 2022 Robinson & Cole LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 138
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About this Author

Christopher Y. Eddy Environmental Litigation Robinson Cole
Associate

Christopher Eddy is an associate in the firm’s Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group, and focuses his practice in the areas of environmental law, environmental litigation, retail energy supply and utility regulatory law. 

While in law school, Chris was a Notes Editor on the First Amendment Law Review and a competing member of the Civil Rights Team of the Holderness Moot Court. He also worked for Pisgah Legal Services in Asheville, North Carolina, in its domestic violence and housing divisions in which he assisted clients pursuing permanent restraining orders and facing...

860-275-8338
Rickie M. Sonpal Mergers and Acquisitions Lawyer Robinson Cole Law Firm
Partner

Rickie Sonpal has a broad-based corporate and transactional practice that encompasses mergers and acquisitions, partnerships and joint ventures, debt and equity financing, and general corporate and commercial matters. He is a member of the firm's Business Transactions and Finance Groups. He is also a member of the firm's Business Transactions Group.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Rickie regularly represents corporate clients and strategic and financial investors in domestic and cross-border mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, and carve-out transactions. He...

401-709-3362
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