By Cherie Ching, Advocacy Fellow
August 11, 2015
An Act Relative to a Long-Term, Sustainable Solar Industry (Docket number HD4090)
Governor Charlie Baker is making heat waves in the solar fight to allow the expansion of net metering in Massachusetts. On August 7, 2015, Governor Baker filed legislation, An Act relative to a long-term, sustainable solar industry to encourage the increasing solar development recently halted due to the net metering caps. This is a significant time for Massachusetts because solar is booming and net metering allows homeowners, business, and local governments to sell their excess generation of power to the grid in exchange for credit on their bill. The Net Metering and Solar Task Force emphasized that the Baker-Polito Administration does not support raising the net metering caps in the short-term absent a long-term sustainable solution to effectively balance promoting clean energy and lowering costs to ratepayers. Therefore, Governor Baker’s recent legislation attempts at addressing net metering beyond short-term solutions.
The legislation will raise the net metering caps, currently at 4% for private and 5% for public, to 6% for the private cap and 7% for the public cap. In addition, it will also provide authority for the Department of Public Utilities to raise the caps above that, which is probably necessary for such demanding territories. The net metering program will continue with its current structure until 1,600 MW is reached, then will continue with full retail rate net metering for small projects and creates a new incentive program.
This legislation comes at a significant time, right after Senator Downing proposed an amendment to S.1973 and the Senate voted to lift the net metering cap in order to meet the state’s goal of developing 1,600 MW of solar power by 2018. As a signatory to the Next Generation Solar Policy Framework for Massachusetts, we are continually supporting the advancement of net metering improvements alongside the Acadia Center and other allied organizations.
Please find more information on Net Metering on our Advocacy Page!