Interested in learning more about solar, solar policy and energy markets? MassSolar is here to help. The materials and resources on this page are a great way to get started.
Selected Reports and Publications
Massachusetts Climate and Energy Visions
- Global Warming Solutions Act Dashboard, Strategies for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2020 and 5 Year Progress Report
- Star Power: The Growing Role of Solar Energy in Massachusetts, Environment Massachusetts, November 2014
- Energy Vision: A Pathway to a Modern, Sustainable, Low Carbon Economic and Environmental Future, Acadia Center, February 2014
- A Possible Solution to the Revenue Shift, Peter Rive, Solar City, February 2015
- Freeing the Grid: Best Practices in State Net Metering Policies and Interconnection Procedures, IREC and Vote Solar, January 2015
- State Policies to Increase Low-Income Communities’ Access to Solar Power, GW Solar Institute, September 2014
- Designing Distributed Generation Tariffs Well, Regulatory Assistance Project, November 2013
- Utilities for Dummies, Grist.org series by David Roberts, 2013.
Cost and Benefits of Solar
A growing number of studies show that the benefits of solar far outwiegh the costs. A comprehensive list of those studies is available here but we've posted some of our favorites below.
- The Truth About Solar Benefits in the Commonwealth, MassSolar, June 2016
- Rooftop solar: Net metering is a net benefit, Brookings Institute, May 2016
- Shining Rewards: The Value of Rooftop Solar for Consumers and Society, Environment Massachusetts, June 2015
- Solar Power and Net Metering: Good for Ratepayers, Clean Water Action, May 2015
- A Regulator’s Guidebook: Calculating the Benefits and Costs of Distributed Solar Generation, IREC, October 2013
- Analysis of the Economic Costs and Benefits of [SREC II] Solar Program, DOER, September 2013
- A Review of Solar PV Benefit and Cost Studies, Rocky Mountain Institute, September 2013
The Grid and Utility of the Future
- State of the Electric Utility, 2016 Annual Survey Report, Utility Dive
- Why New Electricity Pricing Approaches Are a Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing, RMI, February 2015
- UtilityVision: Reforming the Energy System to Work for Consumers and the Environment, Acadia Center, February 2015
- The Economics of Grid Defection, Rocky Mountain Institute, March 2014
- The Grid Edge: Grid Modernization in the Age of Distributed Generation, Greentech Media, 2013
Federal and State Solar Tax Issues
Both federal and state tax policies implicate and influence solar development. Several of these policies are influx, set to expire or creating a great deal of uncertainty in the solar market. The resources in this section provide an overview of these issues.
Federal Tax Issues
Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC): The ITC is a 30% tax credit for residential and commercial solar systems. At the end of 2016, the ITC will expire for residential systems and decrease to 10% for commercial systems unless Congress passes legislation to extend it. If you want to learn more about the ITC, take a look at this overview and factsheet.
State Tax Issues
Property Tax Exemption: Massachusetts law that exempts certain solar systems from property taxes. Interpreting the law, however, to decide which solar systems are exempt and which are not, is easier said than done.
- A 2013 report from the Harvard Law School Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic, The Solar Property Tax Exemption in Massachusetts: Interpretation of Existing Law & and Recommendations for Amendments, provides an overview and suggests a path forward.
- A recent Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board ruling provides some clarity on the issue. In Forrestall Enterprises, Inc. v. Board of Assessors of the Town of Westborough, a solar installation that did not supply power to the parcel of land on which is was installed, or to any adjoining parcel, was nonetheless exempt from personal property taxes.
Briefings and Factsheets
- How Solar Energy Benefits Communities Across the Commonwealth, MassSolar, January 2016
- Solar is Working for Massachusetts, MassSolar, July 2015
- Growing our Solar-Powered Economy: Net metering and the urgent need to lift the caps, MassSolar, April 2015
- Questions & Answers, Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Systems, DOER, December 2012
Webinars and Trainings
- Webinar: Designing Distributed Generation Tariffs Well, May 2014.
- Training: Twitter 101, MassSolar, November 2014. Download recording.
- Training: Twitter 201, MassSolar, February 2015. Download PPT.
Massachusetts Government, Agency and Solar Program Websites
- Massachusetts Legislature- Look up and track legislation and contact your legislators.
- Department of Energy Resources (DOER)- Among other things, DOER oversees the SREC I Program, SREC II Program, and Solar Residential Loan Program.
- Department of Public Utilities (DPU)- DPU sets the rules for things like net metering, interconnection, grid modernization as well as electricity rates for distribution companies.
- Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC)- In partnership with DOER and others, MassCEC runs several solar programs including Mass Solar Connect and Solarize Mass. MassCEC is also a resource for people looking for clean energy jobs and internships.
Other Websites MassSolar Finds Useful
- The Solar Foundation – a resource for information on solar energy, state solar jobs and solar on schools.
- The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) – regulatory expertise for distributed renewable energy.
- The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) – a resource for those interested in local solutions for sustainable community development.
- The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) – current solar policies in all 50 states.
- America’s Power Plan – a platform for thinking about how to manage the electricity sector’s rapid transformation.
- Our Power Campaign – a resource for communities focused on a just transition.
- The Solutions Project – a 50 state plan to get to 100% renewable energy using wind, water and solar.
- SunShot Outreach Partnership- a DOE SunShot-funded initiative.