The solar industry in Massachusetts has been growing by leaps and bounds: we were ranked fourth in the nation for solar installed last year -- beating far sunnier states like Texas and Arizona.
But now, the Massachusetts solar industry is in trouble. There's a cap on the number of large solar installations that can participate in net metering, a crucial program that allows solar owners to be paid for the electricity they generate. The cap has already been reached in many parts of the state, and it will be reached in others soon -- putting the continued development of the Massachusetts solar industry at risk.
Utilities like National Grid and Eversource know that solar threatens their old-fashioned business model, and they're fighting to keep the net metering cap in place. These are the same utility companies that broke their contracts with Cape Wind and are now advocating for new fracked gas pipelines. We need to fight back!
Several bills raising or abolishing the net metering cap have been filed, including:
- S-1770 / H-2852 (filed by Sen. Eldridge and Reps. Calter and Mark), which raises net metering cap to 1600 MW and exempts projects under 1 MW from caps altogether
- S-1787 / H-2911 (filed by Sen. Petruccelli, Sen. Donnelley and Rep. Smizik), which increases public net metering caps by 2% and private net metering caps by 1%
- H-2879 (filed by Rep. Garry), which suspends net metering caps until December 31, 2016
- S-1784, (filed by Sen. Pacheco), which raises the public and private sector net metering caps by 3%
Of all the bills under consideration, S. 1770 / H. 2852 provides the clearest, most comprehensive framework for supporting the future growth of the clean energy industry in Massachusetts. But all of them would represent a step forward!
Much-needed solar projects all over Massachusetts are being delayed or canceled because of this arbitrary cap. We need to act now. If you've already called your legislator about this issue, this is a great time to call again and ask for an update! If your legislator has supported solar legislation in the past, by filing a bill or signing on as a co-sponsor, you can thank them for their support of solar and encourage them to continue speaking out.
2) Ask your State Senator and Representative to support legislation that would lift the net metering cap. Here's a basic script you can use:
I’m a constituent of yours and a member of 350 Massachusetts. I'm calling to urge you to support raising the caps on net metering so that the solar industry can continue to provide clean energy and good jobs to Massachusetts.
“We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.”
--Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi
We welcome the strong prophetic witness on climate change offered this week by His Holiness Pope Francis in his encyclical “Laudato Si’.”
Pope Francis addresses this encyclical to people everywhere: “Now, faced as we are with global environmental deterioration, I wish to address every person living on this planet.... In this Encyclical, I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home.” We hope that indeed people of all faiths will heed his words and take action. As the Pope affirms, climate change is largely human-caused. In keeping with his commitment to the marginalized and vulnerable, Pope Francis emphasizes that climate change has especially devastating effects on the poor. Addressing climate change is an essential aspect of ethics. As individuals we must reduce our personal consumption of fossil fuels; as citizens, we must push for effective governmental and international action.Read more
A few weeks ago, the Department of Public Utilities opened an investigation into ways to lower energy costs (Docket 15-37). So far, so good: we all want lower electricity and heating costs. The Department of Public Utilities is part of the state government, and they're supposed to be looking out for our interests as consumers.
Unfortunately, the Department of Public Utilities seems to be more interested in protecting the gas industry. The DPU says that they are planning to focus their investigation on ways for utility companies “to contract for new natural gas delivery capacity, with cost recovery through electric distribution rates.”
In other words: the Department of Public Utilities wants new fracked gas pipelines -- and they want ratepayers to pay for them.
We need to shine a spotlight on what the DPU is doing, and show them that Massachusetts ratepayers refuse to bear the costs of dangerous and unnecessary new gas pipelines!
As citizens, we have a right to submit comments to the Department of Public Utilities. Submit your comment by clicking here!
The deadline is Monday, June 15, so submit a comment today if you can!