Analysis by Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and California-based non-profit organization Vote Solar has demonstrated that a reluctance to adopt more solar-friendly legislation in Massachusetts will be damaging for the local economy. More than 551 solar projects, totaling $617 million of investments and 241 MW of installed PV capacity, have been stalled or cancelled in the state due to lawmakers inaction on raising net metering caps.
According to SEIA, the stalled projects, which would have produced enough energy to power almost 40,000 Massachusetts homes, will cost the state $3.2 million in lost tax revenue annually. It will also impact the local job market, analysts predict. To date, Massachusetts solar market, currently the fourth largest in the U.S., created more than 15,000 well-paying, local jobs.
"Solar has become an integral part of the Massachusetts economy and job market," said Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs for SEIA. "The state is leaving jobs and money on the table and ceding its place in the booming solar energy market to other states."
The analysis demonstrates that cities and towns that have previously not been part of the solar debate at the legislature will also be deeply impacted. For instance, a solar project in Billerica, which seeks to turn a former landfill into a 6 MW PV plant, has faced a series of setbacks.
We need quick action from state lawmakers to raise caps on the net metering program and ensure consumers receive full credit for their valuable solar investment," said northeast regional manager for Vote Solar Sean Garren, introducing the results of the analysis.
On Tuesday this week, more than 100 solar workers representing over two dozen solar companies assembled at the Massachusetts State House Read trying to persuade the legislators to raise the caps. It has been a year since the restrictive caps on Massachusetts’ net metering program were reached in National Grid service territory. More recently, caps have also been hit in Unitil and Eversource Energy.