By Cherie Ching, Advocacy Fellow
July 24, 2015
On Thursday, 7/23/15, the Senate voted to lift the net metering cap in order to meet the state’s goal of developing 1,600 megawatts of solar power by 2018. This a big step forward for solar industries, the green building community, and our state to reinforce efforts for increased renewable energy in Massachusetts. Although the Net Metering and Solar Task Force emphasized a long term solution for all parties before any increase or removal of the cap, also supported by the Baker-Polito Administration, the net metering cap halt would threaten thousands of jobs and energy projects if gone unresolved.
Senator Benjamin Downing, the sponsor of another bill our Chapter supports (Bill S.1761- addressing home energy assessments), offered an amendment regarding the net metering cap to a climate preparedness bill, S.1973. Downing addressed the complexties in lifting the cap and said the Department of Public Utilities would be empowered under the new legislation to spread the cost of additional solar across providers and service territories. This element is crucial for the utility companies to distribute increased renewable power through the grid without having to shoulder the entire cost of grid maintenance. The Downing amendment would also direct the Baker administration to develop a strategy to further develop the solar industry in Massachusetts, past the current goal of 1600MW installed PV, into the future.
The current caps limit solar development to 4 percent of peak electricity load for private projects and 5 percent for public projects, with no limit on residential projects. It is good that the Senate has addressed this issue.
BUT WE WON’T STOP THERE!!
We want this to pass the House also!!
Let’s continue the Solar Momentum with MA Climate Action in their Soak Up the Sun Event!
Renewable Energy Day of Action at the State House
Thursday, July 30, 2015
10:45 AM – 1 PM
Bulfinch Entrance, Massachusetts State House
(24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133)
Information provided by MassSolar and Massachusetts Climate Action Network