New Solar Incentive in Massachusetts…Tecogen to Install School Microgrid…Launch Alaska Deadline Near

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Another microgrid-friendly move in Massachusetts

Massachusetts looks even more microgrid-friendly with approval yesterday of a new solar tariff expected to save ratepayers $4.7 billion over current programs and make rooftop solar cash flow positive more quickly.

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Under the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART), a project under 5 MW receives an incentive from the utility company. SMART replaces the existing solar renewable energy credit program.

The state expects SMART to support an additional 1,600 MW of solar. This addition would make solar 10 percent of the electricity used in the state.

“Massachusetts is a national leader in solar energy with over 2,200 MW of solar installed across all 351 cities and towns of the Commonwealth and the SMART program will allow Massachusetts to expand its leadership by significantly increasing solar capacity while lowering costs for ratepayers,” said Governor Charlie Baker.

Baker added that the SMART program will be the first in the nation to offer incentives to solar projects that are paired with storage to capture the benefits of solar regardless of time of day or weather conditions.

Massachusetts-based Beaumont Solar, an engineering, procurement and construction company, says that the new incentive can create a positive cash flow from day one for a solar project. The company calculates that a 350-kW system on a 40,000 square-foot roof can achieve net income of up to $38,000/year without any tax incentives and $60,000/year with tax incentives.

The state has taken a series of actions in recent years to encourage distributed energy, among them last summer’s Act to Advance Clean Energy (H.4857). Signed in August by Baker, the law sets an energy storage target, creates utility resiliency heat maps, and paves the way for non-wires alternatives (NWAs) solicitations.

Separately, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has been undertaking various actions to boost microgrid development in the state. The economic development agency named 14 microgrid projects as receipients of grants for feasibility studies in February.

Tecogen wins deal for school microgrid

Also in Massachusetts, Tecogen says it has won a microgrid deal for a new school, scheduled to open in 2020. The company will supply its 3 InVerde e+ cogeneration units as a microgrid enabled trigeneration — heating, cooling, and power.

The coastal community chose to install a microgrid because of the harsh New England weather. The microgrid will disconnect from the local utility during grid outages and supply power with its back-up generators.

“Oftentimes a school becomes a place of refuge during weather related events or other utility interruptions. The Tecogen system allows the school to baseload emergency generation capacity all the while producing significant resiliency from rising energy costs,” said Benjamin Locke, Tecogen CEO.

October 5 deadline for Launch Alaska Accelerator

Applications are due October 5 for the spring 2019 cohort of Launch Alaska’s Accelerator Program. The competition is open to startups working in a range of energy technologies, including microgrids, energy storage, capacity building, grid management and resiliency and low-cost energy solutions. The program also seeks companies working in transportation, including electric vehicles.

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Modular microgrid company BoxPower was among the winners in Launch Alaska’s spring 2018 competition.

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Elisa Wood About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.

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