Boston, MA (January 30, 2020) “Today’s historic vote by the State Senate helps put Massachusetts back on a path toward a climate-safe, clean energy-powered and sustainable economy. We applaud the Senate leadership for making this unprecedented commitment to a net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050. We are especially pleased that the bill was further amended to take advantage of the opportunity to serve low- and moderate-income families with clean, local solar, since they stand to benefit the most from monthly energy savings and investment in their communities. We are grateful for the visionary action today led by Senate President Spilka and Chairs Barrett and Rodrigues, along with low-income solar champion Senator Chang-Diaz,” said Sean Garren, Vote Solar’s Boston-based Senior Director, Northeast. 

“While this bill, along with Governor Baker’s net-zero carbon emissions goal, promises a more climate ready Commonwealth in the decades to come, much more must be done to capture the advantages of the clean energy economy right now,” added Garren. 

Jobs in the Commonwealth’s solar industry continue to decline. This contraction during a strong economy is due to many factors – notably inconsistent policies, like net metering and the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART), that have run up against arbitrary caps. These self-inflicted challenges have led to a 30 percent decrease in the Commonwealth’s solar workforce, shedding about 4,400 jobs between 2015 and 2018.  

One of the most effective and easiest steps the Commonwealth can take to combat the climate crisis is to expand SMART by at least 3,200 megawatts to keep solar on track to meet our renewable energy target and improve the low-income and environmental justice portions of the program. This will release the constraints on numerous solar energy projects at the local level that will benefit Massachusetts families and businesses, and boost employment in the local solar industry.

 “We look forward to working with House leaders to ensure the final bill helps to maximize opportunities for the expansion of solar power as a critical part of the Commonwealth’s response to the climate crisis while reclaiming our leadership on renewable energy,” added Garren. 

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