Green Offer for Solar PV Owners in New England

Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance (Mass Energy) and People’s Power & Light (PP&L) are now presenting an opportunity for solar photovoltaic (PV) system owners in Massachusetts and Rhode Island to improve their system economics by selling “green attributes.”

Boston Massachusetts – September 24, 2003 [] Mass Energy is a non-profit organization that has been working for over twenty-years to make energy more affordable and environmentally sustainable through advocacy, awareness, and market-based initiatives. PP& L is a sister organization serving Rhode Island. In September, Mass Energy launched a new renewable energy-based electricity product called New England GreenStart. A similar product will be launched in Rhode Island in early 2004. New England GreenStart enables consumers to build demand for renewable energy resources in the region by choosing cleaner, healthier sources of electricity. The product is sold through GreenUp, a new program being offered by National Grid, the utility serving most of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In the upcoming months New England GreenStart may be offered to customers of other Massachusetts utility companies as well. Mass Energy and PP&L are buying green attributes from PV systems in Massachusetts and Rhode Island to include in their New England GreenStart product. The organizations are offering to purchase renewable energy certificates at a rate of US$60 per MWh (or $0.06 per kWh) for a period of three years from PV systems installed after 1998. (Attributes from PV systems installed before 1998 are eligible for sale at a negotiable rate.) A 2-kW PV system in Massachusetts can conservatively be expected to produce 2600 kWh per year, for which the offer would provide the system owner with an additional incentive of $156 annually, $468 over three years. After the three-year contract, owners can consider a range of opportunities for selling attributes in the green power market, which may include continuing the purchasing agreement with Mass Energy. Income from the sale of green attributes will not reduce the savings received through net metering with the local utility company. PV system owners may also choose to donate their renewable energy certificates as a contribution to green power market development. Some solar projects already selling green attributes for inclusion in New England GreenStart include the 16 kW PV installation on the Media and Technology Charter (MATCH) School in Boston, and several smaller systems installed on homes throughout the Greater Boston area as part of Mass Energy’s PV Installation Program, made possible with funding from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s Renewable Energy Trust. The renewable energy attributes from PV systems will be packaged together with wind, small hydro and biomass renewable energy certificates and sold as New England GreenStart. Once green attributes are sold to Mass Energy or PP&L, they cannot be claimed by any other electricity supplier, and cannot be used by electric utilities to meet renewable energy mandates or emissions restrictions. Therefore, when customers purchase New England GreenStart, they support more clean energy production and build demand for additional renewable energy projects in the region. In addition, when PV owners sell their green attributes, they may no longer make formal claims about the “greenness” of the electricity produced by their PV system without disclosing that their green attributes have been sold.
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