Action alert: Solar Impasse at the State House

Solar Impasse Update 2016

Currently in Conference Committee at the State House the future of the solar industry hangs in the balance. H.3854 was passed overwhelmingly by the House at the end of November- Representatives apparently did not appreciate how devastating the bill would be for our solar energy future.

1. H.3854 raises the net metering cap by an inadequate amount- only 2%-
barely enough to last until summer, and not enough to continue planning large projects in areas affected by the cap. Projects in the planning stage, such as municipal arrays on capped landfills, could not proceed.

2. H.3854 drastically reduces the net metering reimbursement rate (‘net
metering credits’) by 75% for large municipal and community-shared solar
projects. This reduction in reimbursement for excess electricity provided to the grid will eliminate the financial justification for undertaking these projects in the first place— substantial cost saving for municipalities, and low-income residents.

3. H.3854 allows the utility companies to initiate a new mandatory minimum charge for solar owners. This would further reduce the incentive for homeowners, municipalities and communities to pursue solar.
These changes will destroy solar industry jobs in Massachusetts (layoffs are already occurring) and halt our progress towards replacing polluting electricity with green electricity.

Our Representatives need to know that we are counting on them to
inform Speaker DeLeo and Chairman Dempsey that H.3854 is
unacceptable. We are also asking our Representatives to publicly support
policies that will continue to promote solar jobs and tax revenue:

We need to eliminate or substantially raise the net metering cap until a longterm solar strategy is developed.

We need to continue reimbursing for excess electricity at the retail rate, and not allow mandatory minimum charges, at least until a full, fair and transparent evaluation is undertaken in public, and justification for these drastic actions is clearly demonstrated.

Furthermore, if change to the solar programs in Massachusetts is seen as
necessary, the SREC program is preferable for modification, as that program accounts for most of the costs, and would have the minimum negative impact on municipalities, low-income and community solar projects.

Click below  to download the Northampton City Council resolution to oppose H.3854, which will be heard this Thursday Feb 4: