On Friday, June 13, 2013, the Massachusetts Telecom, Utilities and Energy (TUE) Committee voted to report H. 3901 / S. 2019 to the Joint Ways and Means Committee. The legislation could be put up for consideration by the Ways and Means Committee as early as Wednesday, June 18th. If adopted in to law, without amendments, the controversial bill would remove the existing net metering capacity limits in exchange for the implementation of a utility administered declining block incentive program (in lieu of the current SREC program) and institute a minimum surcharge for all ratepayers. Facilities interconnected in areas operated by Municipal Light Districts would not have access to the new declining block program.
What does net metering have to do with SRECs?
SRECs and net metering are the key components of the performance based value that solar investors realize for installing solar facilities, but the relationship stops there. Net metering (credit for electricity delivered to the electric grid) is accounted for as a bill offset that utility customers are credited for on their electric bill. SRECs are purchased by the competitive power suppliers that sell electricity to the electric distribution companies (note: regulated utilities may also purchase SRECs to cover the standard offer service load delivered by competitive power suppliers).
The fast moving H. 3901 / S. 2019 bills were first publicly announced June 11th, during a meeting facilitated by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) in Boston. Born initially from a need to negotiate a means to raise the net metering caps in Massachusetts, H. 3901 / S. 2019 would remove the net metering caps in exchange for allowing a change in MA’s solar incentive, a reduction in net metering and virtual net metering values, and a minimum bill charge.
Filed Bill and 6/11/2014 Stakeholder Presentation
An advocacy group named the Massachusetts Stakeholders for Competitive Solar has been formed. The group advocates that while a resolution must be reached to raise the net metering caps, it is unreasonable to prematurely replace a successful incentive program that is a proven success (for another unproven incentive) without appropriate input from the greater Massachusetts solar stakeholder community. Here is a copy of the letter covering this position. If you share the views in this group, you can sign on and show your support for the position here.