Do you have a solar array that began operating before 2019?
Do you receive Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC) payments?
If the answer to those questions is yes, you probably know that the phase-out of support for 3G cellular devices may affect your ability to continue receiving your SREC payments. Depending on your system, you are set up with a meter or a modem which electronically communicates the solar production data. If this equipment is a 3G cellular device, it may be out of date and will no longer communicate the data needed in order to mint your SRECs.
How do you know if your pre-2019 reporting system is cellular based? By this time, you have likely heard from your installer, from your SREC broker, or from your energy monitoring system, such as Enphase, about the status of your solar metering equipment. If not, and if you have a pre-2019 system that generates SRECs, you should contact them. For those who participated in the 2014 Solarize program with Astrum Solar, you can call them at 888-308-7853 or send a message through the Omnidian/Astrum Solar website. (Astrum Solar is now partnered with Omnidian for customer service.)
If you have been contacted about the need to update your equipment, please make sure to follow up. Depending on your system, there are a number of remedies. (See the DOER notice below.) The outdated modems or meters can be replaced with new 4G/5G modems or meters, or, to save that cost, sometimes the existing equipment can be reconfigured to connect to your Wi-Fi and avoid cellular services going forward. Another option is to switch to manual reporting by reading the meter and submitting the production data once a month directly to the MassCEC Production Tracking System (PTS). Work with your installer, SREC broker, or monitoring system to see what options are open to you.
In any case, if you receive SREC payments, it is helpful to familiarize yourself with your “PTS” account. There you can check and make sure your solar production data is being reported. Solar arrays eligible for SRECs are registered with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Production Tracking System (PTS). Solar owners have an account with PTS where they can view their production numbers. To access the account, sign in with the email address associated with the system. The sign-in page has a link if you forgot your password of if you are having trouble signing in.
The DOER notice below gives more information.
SREC Systems and 3G Phase Out
In 2022, the 3G cellular wireless networks will be phased out and it may affect the production reporting of SREC and SREC II systems. More information on the planned phase out of the 3G wireless network is available here.
If your SREC or SREC II system has telemetering equipment to report your solar production to a Data Acquisition System, you may be affected. The phase out should only affect the production meter’s ability to report generation, while the ability to record and store production data are likely unaffected. Therefore, the 3G phase out should not affect any system less than 10kW that has been manually reporting production to Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) Production Tracking System (PTS).
To minimize the disruption to the market and to support system owners ability to continue generating their SRECs, DOER is sharing a list of potential options system owners may consider.
1) Hardwire- If available, the metering system may be able to be hardwired into the internet and avoid using cellular services going forward.
2) Modem Replacement- Many metering systems may be able to have the modem replaced with an LTE capable system.
3) Meter Replacement- New meters with LTE capable systems can be installed.
4) Switch to Manual Reporting- Effective January 2022, MassCEC’s PTS Reporting Requirements have been modified to allow SREC and SREC II systems 25kW direct current (DC) or smaller to manually report their production. The ability to manually report had previously been limited to systems that were 10kW or smaller. For assistance in changing your SREC or SREC II system to manual reporting, please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DOER encourages system owners to work with professional installers to assess their production meters and ensure that the installed equipment meets all of the requirements, including the MassCEC PTS Help Center- Reporting Requirements (SRECs).
If you have any questions, please direct them to DOER.SREC@mass.gov.
Director, Renewable and Alternative Energy Division