The 2021-2022 Municipal Light Plant (MLP) Solar Program: now accepting applications
Due to the popularity of the DOER’s MLP Solar Program, a select group of MLPs will continue offering a rebate on solar projects. The first step is an approved interconnection application from the participating MLP: Braintree Electric Light Department (BELD), Middleborough Gas & Electric Department (MGED), Norwood Municipal Light Department (NMLD), Rowley Municipal Light Department (RMLP), and Reading Municipal Light Department (RMLD).
Municipal Light Plant Solar Program: required documents
The program descrition below is required reading for installers and project owners. It includes system requirements (Azimuth, minimum annual access, list of accepted shade reports, and meter requirements), rebate process timeline, among additional essential information. Additional program documents are provided below. Email us with any questions or use the in-app help link, which is an envelope icon.
2023 Solar Rebate Addendum (required for multi-array projects in which one or more arrays fall outside the required Azimuth of 90-270 degrees)
2023 Solar Tree Removal Form (required for project owners whose systems fail to meet the minimum annual access value but intend to meet the standard by project completion)
The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Municipal Light Plant (MLP) Solar Program is closed.
Rebates vary by MLP and are calculated per kW DC system size. The total rebate cannot exceed 50% of the project cost. Battery installations and roof repair cannot be included in project cost total.
Doer Grant Funds
DOER grant funds are 100% reserved and all approved projects are in the completion phase. Completion documents must be submitted to ENE’s portal by 7/15/22.
Apply for Loans
Participants in the MLP Solar Program may apply for loans through Mass Solar Loan, run by MassCEC, and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources that connects homeowners with low-interest loans for residential solar projects.
2022 Program Documents
Is my roof suitable for solar?
The ideal roof orientation is East-West (an Azimuth of 90-270 degrees), with a system-wide weighted average Annual Access value of at least 80%, measured with an program-approved Shade Report (detailed in Section 7). An installer’s solar consultation should include a site evaluation that uses an approved shade tool. The age and condition of your roof is also a factor. Solar panels have a lifetime expectency of 20 years. If your roof is older than 20 years, consider replacing it prior to installing a solar system. Roof work costs are not eligible for rebate.
How long does it take to install a solar electric system?
There are multiple factors that can lengthen the process during any phase of a solar project, many of which happen during application processing. Installation is often the quickest portion of the process.
What questions should I ask a potential installer?
Buyer beware. Read any contract before signing. Educate yourself about the process. MassCEC Residential Guide to Solar Electricity.
How much electricity will my system generate?
Output depends on many factors. A conservative output estimate is 1,100 kilowatt hours of electricity annually for every one kilowatt of system size. The average residential system in Massachusetts is 8 kilowatts and produces about 8,800 kilowatts of electricity each year. Your MLP might have size restrictions on system size in relation to your past electricity usage.
Should I get an energy audit and adopt energy efficiency measures before installing solar?
Yes. It’s not required but always a great idea. Assessing your home’s energy efficiency and adopting suggested measures is the easiest way to lower electric consumption. ENE offers no-cost Home Energy Assessments on behalf of your MLP. Sign up to get started.
What maintenance does a solar electric system need?
Solar electric systems can require maintenance over their 20-year lifetime. Installers should provide a minimum five-year labor warranty to protect your equipment against defective workmanship, component breakdown, or significant degradation in electrical output. In addition, the solar electric equipment should have appropriate manufacturers’ warranties. Although it is uncommon for a solar PV panel or inverter to stop functioning while under warranty, talk to your installer about their policies for equipment replacement, including whether or not labor costs are included.
Can I install the system myself?
Only Massachusetts-licensed Master Electricians are qualified to install solar projects. The individual or organization installing the solar system must also be licensed to conduct business in Massachusetts.
What are my financing options?
The facility owner must directly purchase or take out a loan for the project in order to qualify for the rebate. Solar leasing and Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) projects do not qualify for this program.
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Solar Cost Comparison Tool can help you understand what other homeowners in Massachusetts have paid for similar systems in your area.
HOW DO I SELECT A CONTRACTOR?
Tips for choosing the right solar contractor:
- Request at least three detailed estimates from licensed contractors.
- Only MA-Licensed MAster Electrician’s can install your system and installers must be licensed to operate in the state of Massachusetts. Verify that installers are properly licensed by checking the Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractor Registry and eLicensing Portal.
- Make sure your contractor is bonded and insured.
- Request at least three references from prospective contractors for projects similar to yours.
- Read all documentation carefully before you sign. It’s your responsibility to understand the contract between you and your installer. Any project changes should be documented in writing.
- The links below includes directories and contact information for installers that work in the Commonwealth.
HOW DO I COMPLETE THE APPLICATION PROCESS?
1. Project Owner chooses an Installer & both parties sign an installation contract.
2. On behalf of the Project Owner, the Installer submits an interconnection application to the Municipal Light Plant (MLP) and awaits approval. Once the Interconnection Application is submitted, the Installer can begin a portal application. ** An approved Interconnection Application from the MLP is not an approval to install. It’s approval to apply for the 2022 MLP Residential Solar Program via the online portal.***
3. Complete the portal application.
- Complete all fields.
- Submit the following documents:
- Proof of property ownership (deed or current tax bill)
- Installer contract (signed)
- Shade report (see Section 7 in the Program Description for accepted shade tools
- E-sign the portal-generated Participant’s Agreement & Application to submit application for validation. The installer and project owner must e-sign both documents.
4. Await MLP approval of interconnection application
5. Await portal application validation
- Provide additional documents, as requested via portal auto-notifcations.
6. Rebate Reservation/Installation Approval
- The Rebate Reservation letter is approval to install the system.
- The Reservation approval email package includes all Completion Documents:
- Meter Connection form
- Project Completion form
- Project Change form
7. Install system and receive a Permission to Operate letter/ document from the MLP.
- Each MLP has its own approval process and requirements.
8. Submit Completion Documents to the portal application
- MLP’s Permission to Operate
- Project Completion form (issued with the Rebate Reservation email package)
- Meter form (issued with the Rebate Reservation email package)
- Meter picture (front face only; need to show legible meter ID & meter is powered on)
- Invoice or loan document showing at least 200% of the rebate reservation amount have been paid
- Change Request form (if applicable; issued with Rebate Reservation packet)
- Tree removal validation forms (for projects with failing shade values; forms provided if applicable during pre-install phase
9. Await Payment verification
10. Await Payment