The Massachusetts electric distribution companies (EDCs), in consultation with the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) have issued a new request for proposals (RFP) seeking offers from eligible solar photovoltaic (Solar PV) generation units with nameplate capacity of 1 – 5 megawatts (MW) and commercial operation dates on or after January 1, 2018. Selected bids will receive payments for a term of 20 years under the EDCs' tariffs, consistent with the requirements of DOER’s Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program. All bids are due no later than December 5, 2017, and may be submitted as early as November 27, 2017.

Project Eligibility and Timeline

Each bid project must include a price not exceeding $170.00/MWh ($0.17000/kWh) and be a non-net metered generation unit. No bid project will be eligible to receive compensation rate adders as defined in the DOER’s SMART Program regulations, e.g., location-based, off-taker, energy storage, and solar tracking adders. All submitted bids must also include a fully executed interconnection service agreement and refundable performance guarantee deposit calculated as $25.00/kWh.

Subsequent to the issuance of the RFP and an initial bidders’ conference held on November 17, the timeline for submission and review of bids is as follows:

Action

Date

Bid submission window opens

Monday, November 27, 2017

Final bid submission due date

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Last day for EDCs to notify winning bidders and announce RFP results

January 11, 2018

Bid Ranking and Selection

Upon receipt of all eligible bids, each EDC will rank submitted projects by lowest to highest bid price, and select for procurement an amount of megawatt capacity up to the EDC’s proportional allotment of the total solicited amount of 100 MW. The selected bid with the highest bid price will set the clearing price for all bids selected by the EDC. Upon DOER approval of the EDCs’ selections, each winning bidder will have five business days to accept or decline that offered price.

Why This RFP Now?

The RFP sets the initial base compensation rate under the SMART Program for each EDC. As established in Chapter 75 of the Massachusetts Acts of 2016 and codified in 225 C.M.R. 20.00, the SMART Program requires procurement of 1,600 MW of new Solar PV generation of up to 5 MW nameplate capacity that will receive long-term payments (10 or 20 years, depending on project size) from the EDCs, pursuant to a DPU-approved tariff. The EDCs will complete the total procurement over eight equal-sized capacity blocks. Within each capacity block, each EDC will procure a megawatt amount that is proportional to the total share of Massachusetts end-user electric load served by the EDC during 2016. The base compensation rate and compensation adder amounts for all projects certified under the SMART Program will decline by 4% for each capacity block from the initial compensation rate set in the RFP.

Participation in the SMART Program after the RFP

Bidders seeking to participate in the RFP must submit completed applications by December 5. However, Solar PV generators of diverse nameplate capacity (less than 25 kV – 5 MW) may also obtain long-term, tariff-based payments for generation procurements in a subsequent capacity block, subject to the approval of the generator’s statement of qualification application by the DOER. Such certified generators may also be eligible for compensation rate adders reflecting a project’s particular characteristics, including co-location with an energy storage system, and smaller solar projects will be eligible for a compensation rate multiplier.