Commercial PACE in MA (what commercial business owners should be aware of)
While owners have anxiously waited to execute rooftop solar projects leveraging this innovative approach to lower
electricity costs using existing roofs since it was announced by Gov. Baker in 2016, the state continues to shovel shit and get nothing completed - and make no commitments about an actual end being in sight. This seems pretty straightforward to me and is about utilizing solar energy to create a more competitive business environment in MA. I cheated and read the Gov's announcement. The Patrick administration was successful in the installation of thousands of residential rooftop systems prior to 2016. The problem seems to be when multiple state agencies get involved in the same program and Baker's version involves multiple. Unfortunately, in government’s one dimensional thinking, all of the moving parts are not working in cohesion – no surprise there. Even worse, it feels like there may be a lobbyist involved with wandering hands in others’ pockets that is slowing the wheels of legislation – again no real surprise in MA.
The reality that business owners need to be aware of is 2-fold at this time. 1) The federal tax credit under Sect. 1603 applicable to renewable energy arrays ratchets lower after 2019 and will not be as generous for projects not ‘completed’ in 2019, (One might also ask what the actual definition of completed means in this context, because I do not know) and 2) specifically in northeast MA, an actual utility zone ruled by National Grid, the remaining capacity for MA incentives under the SMART program – actually unveiled in Nov. 2018 - has already exhausted 7 of 8 available blocks of capacity and also likely will run out during 2019 – again, nobody really knows for sure. How SMART actually is a program that is exhausted in less than 6 months and took 2 years to complete and possibly cease existence prior to another of the Governor’s favored programs is even completed for execution – Commercial PACE. How environmentally sensitive beyond headline grabbing is this government to not complete this initiative? Electeds love to exclaim how environmentally focused they are, until it requires getting something done that rides against utilities.
If business owners who have looked forward to PACE roll out either included electricity savings or tax related planning in their 2019 business plans – you may want to either re-think your plans or stop waiting for PACE to even exist before it doesn’t. This type of uncertainty is exactly what businesses seek to avoid and does not make MA any more competitive than abutting states. We are located in Amesbury MA and located on the boarder of NH – land of no sales tax – and a solar incentive program can’t be figured out? Disappointing…..