From Section 61 of the Senate Climate Bill, S.2842 – Requirements for the Department of Energy Resources to Develop New Guidance for Siting of Solar Projects

SECTION 61. The department of energy resources, in consultation with the secretary of energy and environmental affairs, shall make recommendations to the general court on a successor program to the solar incentive program established in section 11 of chapter 75 of the acts of 2016. In developing recommendations, the department shall consider: 

  • the benefits provided by distributed generation facilities including, but not limited to: (A) avoided energy purchases; (B) avoided capacity purchases; (C) avoided transmission and distribution costs; (D) avoided line losses; (E) avoided environmental compliance costs; (F) avoided damages from greenhouse gas emissions; (G) enhanced reliability; (H) equity and environmental justice benefits; and (I) any other benefits as may be determined by the department; 
  • (ii) time differentiated rates and alternative rates that encourage equity and alignment with the commonwealth’s energy, climate and natural resources programs and policies; 
  • (iii) the siting of clean energy projects in underserved communities and within the built environment on developed or degraded land including, but not limited to, rooftops, parking lots and other low-impact areas with minimal ecosystem service values; 
  • (iv) avoiding or minimizing impacts to natural and working lands and waters; and 
  • (v) potential solutions to challenges faced by municipalities relative to the deployment of solar within the built environment, including the provision of guidelines, technical assistance and incentives for municipalities to update local land use regulations to facilitate within-development siting. The process shall work in parallel with the department’s technical potential of solar study. 

The department shall file its recommendations with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives and the joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy not later than July 31, 2023.