Massachusetts solar energy advocates form coalition to advance policy

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), New England Clean Energy Center (NECEC), Solar Energy Business Association of New England (SEBANE) and Vote Solar Initiative have announced the formation of the Mass Solar Coalition, an effort to advance solar policies in the state of Massachusetts.

SEIA, NECEC, SEBANE and Vote Solar were all proponents of H.4185, a bill in the last legislative session which aimed to remove net metering caps and redesign the state’s solar energy incentives.

H.4185 failed to pass before the end of the session, however another bill to incrementally increase the net metering caps and form a task force to study solar policies passed. Through member companies SEIA, NECEC and SEBANE are represented on the 17-member Net Metering and Solar Task Force, which held its first meeting last week.

The state’s Task Force will be hiring a consultant to study solar policies in Massachusetts and other states and advise the Massachusetts Legislature, and will conclude in March 2015.

NECEC VP of Policy and Government Affairs Janet Besser says that net metering caps will be priority area for the coalition. “Net metering caps are expected to constrain development in Massachusetts, so we’d like to see the caps removed,” Besser told pv magazine.

Besser also notes that the coalition is seeking to advance policies that work for a variety of business models. “There are different kinds of solar companies out there serving different segments of the market, and one of the things that we want to see is a policy that advances all segments of the market,” says Besser.

“We’d like to see solar development in the Commonwealth reach and even surpass the 1600 MW goal set by Governor Patrick.”

As of Tuesday Mass Solar Coalition had named 17 companies including SunEdison and Borrego Solar as members. While many of these 17 are members of SEIA, NECEC and SEBANE, NECEC stresses that it is a growing list and that it is reaching out to companies that are not members of any of these organizations.