BOSTON- Fourteen Massachusetts towns have signed onto a coalition letter in support of a bill that would expand the use of solar energy in the Commonwealth. Greenfield is the most recent community to sign on this week, joining North Adams, Otis, Williamstown, Egremont, Cummington, Ashfield, Charlemont, Conway, Heath, Monterey, Great Barrington, and Salem.
The letter is in support of SB1664: and HB1776, two bills that would expand effective solar programs in Massachusetts by increasing the net-metering cap. Net-metering is a program that allows consumers to sell excess electricity produced via solar panels back to the electricity grid for a profit. By making it more affordable to install solar panels on homes, businesses, and government buildings, Massachusetts’ net-metering program has encouraged renewable energy investment and has created new clean energy jobs. Unfortunately, the net-metering program is capped, and developers are beginning to bump up against this cap. As a result, developers are wary of taking on new and worthwhile solar projects.
“Increasing Massachusetts’ net-metering cap will restore financial certainty to the solar market and reaffirm the state’s commitment to clean and renewable energy,” said Environment Massachusetts Field Associate MacKenzie Clark, “and the support of the 13 cities and towns that have endorsed the bill send a clear message: solar energy is good for our communities”
“Through the opportunities provided by the Green Communities Act of 2008, small cities and towns have been able to project and finance future utility costs” noted Bill Martin, Mayor of Greenfield. He added, “It is imperative the net-metering cap is raised so that communities will have the independent tools to replace loss of state aid and combat increased expenses”
Statewide, 55 solar businesses have also signed on to the letter in support of raising the net-metering cap.