Commercial, Finance, Regulation, Solar - April 6, 2016
Proposed legislation would increase net metering cap in Massachusetts by 3%
A legislative committee in Massachusetts has agreed on final language for a solar bill that would raise the state's net metering caps, but reduce the rate at which utilities must reimburse community and commercial solar projects for excess capacity sent into the grid. The bill will allow utilities to impose a charge on solar customers to cover costs the utilities incur associated with maintaining the grid.
The six-member conference committee comprised of House and Senate members agreed to final language for the bill April 6 after five months of negotiations, according to PV Tech. The bill, H. 4137, increases the net metering cap by 3%.
As for the reimbursement rate, the final version of the legislation reportedly keeps the current rate for residential and municipal projects, but will lower it to the wholesale rate for commercial and community solar projects after the state reaches a total of 1,600 MW of solar capacity. The bill is now awaiting a vote by both the House and Senate, each of which are expected this week, according to Masslive.com.
The Solar Energy Industries Association hailed the final language as a compromise, saying it would reopen the state for solar business. Until it is signed by Gov. Charlie Baker, the industry group said April 6, close $618 million of investment and more than 241 MW of solar capacity “hangs in the balance.”
"By raising the caps, the Commonwealth is showing it values the well-paying local jobs that solar provides and the energy independence of its residents," Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA said in a statement. "Bay Staters have made it abundantly clear they want access to clean, affordable, reliable renewable power."
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