I rarely use The Energy Miser to encourage outreach by solar supporters to government leaders. There are plenty of solar advocacy blogs (Mass Solar, Vote Solar, SEBANE, etc.) doing that job very effectively.
But Massachusetts is at a crossroads as I write. The solar progress of the previous administration is being trampled on by current state policies. The Senate just passed Bill S.2545 unanimously, and it has the potential to put the Commonwealth back on course. It’s time to pull out all the stops, collect favors, and ask all Massachusetts citizens who believe in clean energy to drop a dime.
What’s In It For Me?
The bill, An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future, calls for many positive measures, all designed to provide fair and equitable access to solar for all Massachusetts residents. Therefore, it will also increase the amount of solar in the region, which benefits all. (I explain how solar benefits even those who don’t own it in this post.) The bill:
- Eliminates Net Metering caps, which have prevented many large residential and commercial solar projects from being built.
- Eliminates the new Eversource residential demand charge for solar customers, scheduled to go into effect at year end.
- Restores full retail Net Metering for low-income and community solar.
- Allows Net Metering credits to transfer across load zones so you can share your solar with family or neighbors.
- Creates a working group to study if solar should be required on all new buildings.
- Requires utilities to offer optional time-of-use rates to all customers. By letting consumers see the true cost of their electricity throughout the day, time-of-use rates will reduce peak demand and electricity costs, while encouraging the adoption of solar energy and electric vehicles.
- Sets a 2,000 megawatt target for energy storage by 2025.
- Adjusts the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) increase from 1% per year to 3%. The RPS requires utilities to obtain a certain amount of their electricity from renewable sources. It has been an effective tool for creating a cleaner economy for 15 years. (That’s in Massachusetts. Rhode Island and New Hampshire implemented the RPS 11 years ago.)
- Requires the Commonwealth to develop a plan by 2023 for meeting federal Global Warming Solutions Act targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050.
Drop A Dime
The bill has moved to the House of Representatives, so I implore you to call or email your state rep as soon as possible and encourage him or her to support the Clean Energy bill (in some form – the House is likely to put its own mark on the bill through edits).
Most important, tell them you want Massachusetts to regain its status as a renewable energy and climate change leader by removing the Net Metering cap and increasing the Renewable Portfolio Standard.
And remind them that a strong solar industry preserves and creates good jobs for Massachusetts. The solar industry employs twice as many people as the fossil fuel electricity generation industry (oil, natural gas, coal). Fun fact: Solar also employs more people than Apple, Google and Facebook combined.
(Click here to find contact information for your state representative.)
If you liked this article, you might also enjoy:
- Net Metering is Not a Subsidy
- Solar Nightmare: Eversource Introducing New Charges
- ‘Live Free or Die’ for Energy Independence (covers how Net Metering works and related state policies)