Reference Info

Belmont Goes Solar Workshop Presentation

For the full length workshop presentation, please click this link: Solar Presentation MP 2016-04-07

(Note that this presentation refers to the former installer, Direct Energy Solar, but many of the slides are comparable to the current installer, SunBug Solar, as well.  See for details)

Evaluate Your House for Solar:

  • Google Project Sunroof provides a quick evaluation of your roofs suitability for solar, how big a system you can install and what your approximate costs and payment options are (Note: this is only available for a part of Belmont so your house might or might not be included)
  • PVWatts is a simple solar calculator developed by NREL, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, that can provide a quick prediction of your houses solar potential and expected costs.

Solar for Condo's:

  • DOER Solar Guide to Condos provides in-depth advice how condo owners can go solar, including how to deal with condo-associations.


Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has a number of valuable informational resources for solar on their website. They also administer the PTS (Production Tracking System) for recording solar production used to mint SRECs, the new MassSolarLoan program financed by DOER, manage community Solarize campaigns and many other state programs that support renewable energy in MA.

Solar Financing:


Update: MA-DOER extended the SREC-II program under an emergency regulation on 4/8/2016 until a follow-up incentive program (SREC-III) is in effect. This means that homeowners that sign up for a solar system within the next few months will still be able to get the generous benefits from SREC-II's, even though the program has reached its original capacity limit of 1600 MW.

Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) issues Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs), which represent the clean energy aspects of solar power. Each 1000 kWh solar power generates 1 SREC per year for 10 years. The DOER website on the current status of the SREC-II program has all official information for this.

DOER uses two mechanisms to ensure the future value of SRECs:

  • Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP):
    This is what utilities will have to pay (as a penalty) if they do not generate or buy enough SREC’s on the open market to fulfill their RPS compliance obligations. This can be seen as the upper limit of what SRECs will be traded at. As can be seen in the table on the DOER website the ACT payment is set as $375 for 2014 and goes down to $244 in 2025.
  • SREC-II Clearinghouse Auction Price Schedule: This is the price set by DOER for any SRECs remaining unsold at the end of a year (June 15) that will be offered in an auction (held in July). In order to help sell these “unwanted” SRECs, DOER increases the value by extending their life first to two years, and if they are not sold in the first round of the auction, to three years. If SREC-IIs are still not sold in the second round, then DOER will increase the minimum compliance requirement for the following year and hold a third auction round. If after three rounds the SREC’s did not sell, they are returned to the owner, retaining their three year compliance value and can be sold again in the following year. This mechanism is designed to set a floor value for the SRECs’s. However, there is a small possibility of them not being sold, at least not in the year they were minted, and thus having a lower value then the fixed auction price. The Auction Price is set at $300 minus 5% fees = $285 for 2014 and decreases to $180 (after fees) in 2025. These prices can be seen pretty much as the expected minimum value of SREC2s.

Some aggregators offer to buy SREC’s for 10 years up front, usually at about $100-200 per SREC-II. Some guarantee a value for the first three years. If you have the stomach, it is probably best financially to hold on to them and sell them on the open market at a value hopefully between the ACP and auction price.

It is also important to note that SREC-IIs are in limited supply, the program is capped at 1600 MW which is expected to be reached in late 2017. DOER tries to reserve a portion for smaller residential systems, so those might be available longer, but it will likely sunset somewhere around the end of 2016. The fact that the goal of 1600 MW of PV might be achieved already  in 2016, after only 2 years of this program being open, instead of the original target date of 2020, shows how attractive it is and that it will likely not be renewed with such a high incentive.

Other Installation Companies:

There are many more solar installers. Please refer to the DOER list or search for yourself.  See to get installers to bid on your job.