Commercial, Distributed Generation, Regulation, Solar  -  March 17, 2016

Net metering under the microscope in Massachusetts

Massachusetts lawmakers are working on a solar power legislation compromise with regard to net metering. The state currently caps the amount of money solar energy producers can receive for delivering power into the grid but offers other incentives.

The solar industry wants the cap lifted, but utilities only want the cap lifted once downward adjustments have been made to the other incentives, according to reporting by Masslive.com.

Massachusetts state representatives signed a letter on Tuesday urging House leaders to move forward on a compromise bill that rejects net metering rate cuts. The letter reportedly states, “our offices have been contacted by constituents, municipalities and businesses, that are concerned this legislation will lead to job losses, jeopardize environmental programs, and raise electricity bills."

Judging by what happened when Nevada cut net metering rates last year and major solar installers including SolarCity immediately packed up and left the state putting thousands out of work, some of the Massachusetts Representatives’ concerns appear valid.

One issue at stake is whether net metered customers should be compensated at retail or wholesale electricity rates. The wholesale rate is lower.

It’s not yet clear whether a solar net metering compromise will emerge as its own bill or as part of a comprehensive energy bill, according to Masslive.com. House Speaker Robert DeLeo, D-Winthrop, said Monday that negotiations are ongoing and he hopes a bill will emerge in April.  

  

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