The Mass Solar Coalition today (May 4) commended the work of Massachusetts’ Net Metering and Solar Task Force. The task force sent a final report to Massachusetts’ state legislature last Friday in which it advocated that the state lift its net-metering cap, among other solar energy positive recommendations.
The task force was set up by the state legislature during its last session to study the state’s solar and renewable energy incentive programs and make recommendations based on those findings. The task force found that the state’s solar power incentive programs have delivered benefits that definitely exceeded the costs to consumers, that solar has wide support in the state and renewable energy costs only make up a very small portion of resident’s electric bills.
“The research and analysis conducted through this Task Force reinforces that solar energy is a worthy investment for the Commonwealth. Dollars spent on solar are an investment in the Commonwealth’s energy and economic infrastructure that stays in Massachusetts, that is earning a positive return in jobs, investment, and energy peak load and greenhouse gas reductions.” said Janet Gail Besser, Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs of NECEC and Task Force member. “Solar energy is clearly a critical and valuable component of an energy platter that will satisfy our appetite for electricity.”
The task force also stated that the most effective way to continue to develop a diverse solar market in the state is to lift net metering caps in the state. “Expanding the state’s successful net metering program is a key policy priority for the Massachusetts Solar Coalition,” the coalition said. The coalition consists of the New England Clean Energy Council (NECEC), Solar Energy Business Association of New England (SEBANE), Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Next Step Living, MassSolar and Vote Solar.
“The actions of the legislature have created over 12,000 jobs as part of a strong and vibrant solar industry that is helping achieve a low cost and clean energy future for the Commonwealth,” said Larry Aller, director of Business Development and Strategy at Next Step Living. “Without immediate action on the caps, many of these jobs will be lost over the next year and a half.”
Already some net-metering caps in the state have been reached, like the cap for public or private solar projects 25 kilowatts or more in National Grid’s service area. As such numerous solar projects in that region have been delayed. Other caps are nearing their limits as solar proves popular in the state.
“With hundreds of jobs already at risk, the consequences of failing to provide near-term relief from the net metering caps are profound,” explained Fred Zalcman, managing director of Government Affairs for the Northeast States at SunEdison and SEIA’s representative on the Task Force, “That said, SEIA also strongly supports a transition to a long-term sustainable net metering and solar incentive program and looks forward to continuing to work with the legislature and other stakeholders to responsibly manage that transition.”Tweet