- Solar advocates are protesting the Massachusetts legislature’s failure to pass a new net metering policy as the state's third major utility, Eversource, rapidly approaches its 4% of peak load cap for private installations and 5% of peak load cap for public projects.
- More than 5,000 petitions and letters to Democrat House Speaker Bob DeLeo were delivered by more than 100 solar workers demanding a new solar policy from the House before Eversource hits the cap, the third utility to do so in the past couple of years.
- The solar sector is becoming more desperate as utilities hit caps. Last year, both houses of the Legislature failed to come to an agreement over two bills that would have raised the caps by 2%, PV Magazine reports.
Massachusetts is the fourth largest market for solar in the United States, but that standing may be in peril as utilities suspend solar projects when caps are hit, and lawmakers fail to come to an agreement over the state's net metering policy.
“Following the vote on H.3854 in November, our offices have been contacted by constituents, municipalities and businesses who are concerned that this legislation will lead to job losses, jeopardize environmental progress, and raise electricity bills,” the letter said “We respectfully request that you address these critical issues in the Conference Committee, and that the committee report a bill to raise the net metering caps as expeditiously as possible.”
The news outlet reports that the Brian Dempsey (D), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Thomas Golden, House Chair of the Joint Commoittee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, and Speaker DeLeo have been identified as the main obstacles to what nearly was a unanimous consensus on the House bill.
PV Magazine noted the lobbying group, Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), which includes utilities and has been lobbying to revamp net metering, is behind these three lawmakers.
The Massachusetts solar renewable energy certificate (SREC), which allows a return to rooftop solar owners when they agreed to let utilities apply their rooftop generation toward the state's renewables mandate program, closed in February.
Residential solar is exempt from the caps on the NEM and SREC programs, which will allow some solar activity to continue, but Massachusetts solar builders are largely left in limbo. Advocates claim the state's solar penetration isn't high enough to warrant capping net metering.