Legislature fails to lift solar caps, despite broad public support

For Immediate Release

Boston — The Legislature failed to lift caps on solar net metering during its final formal session of the year today. As a result, solar projects that have been stalled for more than seven months will likely remain in limbo until January at the earliest.

Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts, issued the following statement:

“The Legislature’s failure to lift the solar caps today is a clear sign of the tremendous power that special interests like the utility companies wield in the State House. The vast majority of Massachusetts residents want to bring more solar power to the Commonwealth, and more than 1,000 civic and business leaders have voiced their support for a goal of 20% solar by 2025. But even with all that support, the utilities and their lobbyists were able to block progress.

“Solar is helping to clean up our air and water, reduce global warming pollution, and strengthen communities across Massachusetts. It’s a clear winner for our environment and our economy. We should do everything we can to bring as much solar to Massachusetts as we can, as quickly as possible.

“We were heartened by the efforts of Senator Downing, Senate President Rosenberg, and other Senate leaders to lift the net metering caps in the waning hours of the day. Additionally, we’re grateful for the support of champions in the House who have consistently fought for more solar power.

“While the bill passed by the Senate is significantly better than the House version, it is still not adequate to ensure the continued growth of solar energy. We must lift the net metering caps by more than proposed in the Senate bill, and we must not make arbitrary cuts to the credit for solar power provided to the grid, when study after study has shown that the benefits of solar far exceed the costs. These cuts would make it harder for many families to switch to solar energy.

“Here’s the bottom line: We should not put a limit on clean energy. Instead, we should move as quickly as possible to power our society with 100% clean, renewable energy — and solar will have a critical role to play. When officials return to the State House in January, they should make the expansion of solar power one of their first priorities.”

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Environment Massachusetts is a statewide, citizen-supported environmental advocacy organization working to protect clean air, clean water, and open space.