The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has adopted new rules designed to encourage Massachusetts' consumers to invest in renewable resources such as solar and wind power.
The new DPU rules govern the financial relationship between the commonwealth's electric utility companies and customers who install renewable energy systems with net metering. The order establishes a model tariff enabling electric customers who install wind and solar power to be compensated at retail rates for selling excess electricity they generate back to their electric companies.
Prior to the Green Communities Act of 2008, customers who opted for net metering could only be compensated at the lower wholesale rate for their excess power.
Through net metering, customers who generate electricity for their own consumption can earn credits from their electric distribution company if they generate more power than they use. Credits may be banked or allocated to other customers, allowing those without facilities to take advantage of net metering benefits as well.
In June, the DPU adopted net metering regulations reflecting Green Communities Act changes that lifted a previous restriction limiting net metering to on-site generation with a capacity of 60 kW or less. Now, customers who own larger wind turbines or solar power installations – up to 2 MW – can offset their electric bills with credits for the extra power they do not use, and at the higher retail price.
The regulations also provide for neighborhood net metering, allowing credits for renewable power generation to be shared among households in a neighborhood.