Solar advocates ask legislators to advance policy before deadline

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Environment Massachusetts

Boston – Saying that the urgency of acting on solar policy has “measurably increased,” advocates delivered a letter today signed by 57 environmental, civic, and business organizations asking the Legislature’s energy committee to approve solar legislation prior to a key deadline.

Under Joint Rule 10, legislative committees must act on bills under their consideration by Wednesday, February 7. The Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy, which has jurisdiction over solar policy, has not yet approved any solar legislation this session.

The letter cites recent developments that have increased the need for solar legislation.

In response to a request from Eversource, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities recently approved a demand charge and other charges for new solar customers, amounting to “an imposition of additional, unfair fees that will disincentivize customers from switching to clean, local, renewable energy while overcompensating utility companies.” The letter also references the Trump administration’s new tariff on imported solar panels and continued delays in the development of the SMART solar incentive program in Massachusetts as additional reasons for legislative action to ensure continued solar expansion.

The 57 organizations and businesses signing the letter ask the chairs and members of the energy committee to take several steps to expand solar power, including:

  • Eliminating the caps on net metering;
  • Restoring the full value of net metering credits, particularly to projects serving low-to-moderate income communities;
  • Prohibiting demand charges for solar customers;
  • Setting aside a portion of solar incentive programs for low-income communities and renters;
  • And setting a target of getting 17.5 percent of Massachusetts’ electricity from solar by 2025, and 25 percent by 2030.

Click here to read the letter.