It is critical for the Commonwealth to promote emerging sources of renewable energy in order to meet our greenhouse emissions goals as well as to end our dependence on natural gas. Massachusetts is a nationally recognized clean energy leader because we have made a clear legislative effort to grow our green energy sector. Our solar power industry is a prime example of our progress having created 15,000 jobs working on over 26,000 projects throughout the state.
In order to continue the solar industry’s progress in Massachusetts, both the House and Senate passed differing versions of legislation that would raise the net-metering cap and allow for the permitting of large solar projects to continue. The legislation also made changes to how solar energy producers would be reimbursed for the electricity that they provide to the grid. A Conference Committee consisting of three House Representatives and three Senators has been discussing how to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate bills for the past several months.
In December of last year, I wrote to the House conferees to voice my concern about the proposed changes in the House version of the solar bill. Specifically, I asked them to base potential changes to solar compensation on a professional study carried out by the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), and to use that study to guide and set future reimbursement rates (see link to letter below).
Additionally, I have joined many of my colleagues in signing a letter to the Conference Committee that expresses the urgency for passing legislation this year that will raise the net-metering cap, reform the SREC program, and maintain the current retail reimbursement for net-metering until we have a better understanding of the true costs and benefits of solar energy to ratepayers (see link to letter below).
It is my hope that these efforts, along with the many advocates and residents who have voiced their strong support for solar energy, will help steer the conferees toward a better solar bill—one that will allow this vital industry to continue to flourish in Massachusetts.