National Grid’s Enrollment in Massachusetts Solar Incentive Program Quadrupled in Third Quarter

About 23.7 megawatts of capacity was enrolled in the service territory of National Grid plc during the third quarter of this year, up from 5.6 megawatts in the previous quarter, under the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target, or SMART, program, according to an Oct. 18 report. Community solar accounted for nearly 7 megawatts of the capacity. The declining block program was launched last November to provide a long-term, sustainable solar incentive solution.

The report is in response to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities’ order issued last year, directing electric distribution companies to submit quarterly reports regarding program participation in each capacity block in each service territory.

Last month, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources proposed to add 800 megawatts to the SMART program, which is fast approaching its current 1.6-gigawatt target. The agency proposed several revisions to the initiative as part of its review to examine oversubscription, land use impacts, geographic and project type diversity, and accessibility to low-income communities. Among other changes, the proposal calls for projects larger than 500 kilowatts to include a storage component. The agency expects the expansion to allow the program to last around five years. Large projects have applied at a pace of about 47 megawatts per month, while small projects applied at about 8 megawatts per month.