Michael Judge, director of the renewable and alternative energy division at the Department of Energy Resources, updates the Local Government Advisory Commission on the state’s new Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) incentive program during its meeting at the State House on Nov. 13. Listening (left) is Gardner Mayor and MMA President Mark Hawke.

The application period opened on Nov. 26 for the new Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program, which was announced by the Department of Public Utilities and the Department of Energy Resources in September.

State officials expect the program, which was in development for two years, to support the generation of an additional 1,600 megawatts of solar in Massachusetts, while saving ratepayers $4.7 billion over existing solar incentive programs.

The SMART program replaces the DOER’s solar renewable energy credit (SREC) program.

Under the program, tariff-based incentives will be paid by investor-owned utilities to the owners of solar array projects of up to 5 megawatts, with special considerations for projects of 25 kilowatts or less.

The program uses a structure similar to California’s solar initiative, where tariff rates paid to solar project owners will decline as more solar is installed across the system.

The three partner electric distribution companies for the SMART program, each with varying amounts of solar capacity, are Eversource, National Grid and Unitil.

Michael Judge, director of the Renewable and Alternative Energy Division at DOER, discussed the SMART program at the Nov. 13 meeting of the Local Government Advisory Commission. The DOER will be presenting a workshop on the program at the MMA Annual Meeting on Jan. 18 (“Here Comes the Sun: Bringing Renewable Energy to Your Community”).

The SMART program was scheduled to accept priority applications through Nov. 30, and will continue to review and place applications on a first-come, first-served basis thereafter.

For more information, visit masmartsolar.com.

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