Mass. Solar Coalition Applauds Bill Passage and Urges Administration to Support Solar for All
Press release: August 3, 2015 – BOSTON: The Massachusetts Solar Coalition, an alliance of solar and clean energy industry organizations, businesses and solar and environmental advocates, commends Senator Ben Downing and the Massachusetts Senate on the July 23rd passage of SB 1979, a bill that, among other things, would lift caps on solar net metering, one of the most important solar policies in the Commonwealth. The Coalition also welcomes last week’s announcement by Governor Charlie Baker that he will file a bill in the near future that will address the need to raise the net metering caps. The Coalition, which is coordinated by the New England Clean Energy Council (NECEC), Solar Energy Business Association of New England (SEBANE), Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), MassSolar, Next Step Living and Vote Solar, urges the Massachusetts legislature to address the net metering crisis by passing legislation to be signed by Governor Baker as soon as possible.
The Coalition applauds the net metering and solar policies included in SB 1979, which passed unanimously with strong bipartisan support as an amendment to a climate change adaptation bill. In order to keep solar growing and delivering economic and environmental benefits in the Commonwealth, the House must pass legislation that includes the same policies to immediately lift or suspend the caps on net metering, and ensure that all Massachusetts families and businesses will have the opportunity to choose solar energy through a fair and open marketplace. Additionally, legislation should include policies that properly compensate solar customers and utilities for the services they provide to our electric grid.
“We commend the Senate for recognizing that solar energy is a worthy investment and a valuable component of our energy system,” said Janet Gail Besser, NECEC’s VP of Policy and Government Affairs and a member of the Net Metering and Solar Task Force. ”The clean energy industry looks forward to working with the Legislature and Baker Administration to ensure that legislation passes swiftly to allow the Commonwealth’s solar industry to continue providing a positive return in jobs, investment and stabilization of energy costs, as well as reductions in energy peak load and greenhouse gas emissions for Massachusetts ratepayers.”
“With the passage of this amendment, the Massachusetts Senate recognized that solar is working in Massachusetts – from the 12,000 in-state jobs to the $9 billion in net benefits solar brings the Commonwealth,” said Sean Gallagher, Vice President of State Affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “We are glad that Governor Baker understands the urgency of addressing the net metering caps and look forward to working with his administration to achieve legislation that is consistent with the interests of towns, companies and residents from across the Commonwealth.”
“Solar insulates low income communities from energy price shocks by providing fixed price, lower cost power for low income residents,” said Mark Sandeen, co-founder of MassSolar. “Community shared solar allows anyone – renters, city dwellers, people with shaded roofs – to directly access the many benefits of solar. But net metering caps are holding up community shared solar projects in 171 communities. We should be providing fair and equitable access to solar for everyone in Massachusetts by lifting the net metering caps.”
“Today we are having to deal with the consequences of these arbitrary net metering caps. Meritorious projects are stalled, jobs and clean energy investments are being lost, and ratepayers are being denied the benefits of having additional solar available to the grid,” said Bill Stillinger, President, PV Squared and Board Member, SEBANE. “We need to see that Senator Downing’s amendment to SB1979 is passed, providing clear direction for the solar industry in Massachusetts.”
“We are glad to see the Senate and Governor Baker beginning to treat solar power with the same urgency and prioritization that the citizens of the Commonwealth do,” said Vote Solar Northeast Regional Manager Sean Garren. “We are in the midst of a significant transition in our national energy infrastructure and it’s critical that Massachusetts maintain its leadership as a solar powerhouse that enables all ratepayers, including renters and low income customers, to save on their energy bills and improve the health and security of their communities by choosing solar.”/p>
“Net metering is a clear and significant net benefit to the residents and businesses of the Commonwealth overall, a benefit worth $9 billion. Analysis for the Net Metering Task Force determined that every dollar invested in solar results in $2.20 to $2.70 in benefits to the Commonwealth overall,” said Larry Aller, Next Step Living Director of Business Development and Strategy. “However, action is needed now to enable solar before federal funding that covers one in every three dollars expires.”/p>
Net metering provides solar customers fair compensation for the clean, reliable electricity they generate. Caps on net metering have stalled solar development in nearly half of the state. Projects that would deliver families, small businesses, schools and other entities in 171 cities and towns across the state real economic savings are unable to move forward until customers can be compensated for their solar power. Local jobs, taxpayer savings, reduced electric bills and improved public health are being lost every day.
About Massachusetts Solar Coalition
Massachusetts Solar Coalition is an alliance of solar and clean energy industry organizations, businesses and solar and environmental advocates committed to working with the Massachusetts Legislature and other stakeholders to ensure the Commonwealth’s continued solar success. The Coalition aims to advance fair, long-term, sustainable, and cost effective solar programs and policies that support strong solar deployment and that deliver the many benefits of solar to all Massachusetts consumers.