This blog post is based on the post available at www.solarisworking.org.
In mid-March 2015, the net metering cap for public projects was hit in the National Grid territory (see red box in chart below). The Commonwealth’s legislatively-mandated net metering caps are based on each utility’s historical peak megawatt energy demand. Effective November 4, 2014 net metering caps were set at 4% for “private” projects and 5% for “public” projects of each utility’s historical peak demand, out of line with the state’s 1600 MW solar target. Representing 45% of total net metering capacity in Massachusetts, National Grid also services a region of Massachusetts where it is easier and less expensive for developers to find suitable sites for solar, but Unitil and NGrid-Nantucket are not far behind in hitting the caps in either the private or public sector. The outlier is the NStar (now EverSource) territory, where it is more difficult and more expensive to find suitable sites for solar.
As the caps across the state’s utilities are hit, new solar projects will no longer be eligible to earn retail credit for the excess power returned to the grid. Instead, they will be credited for any excess power at roughly a third of the retail rate. This decreased benefit would render many solar projects financially unviable. Although residential systems 10 kW or less and many commercial systems 25 kW or less are exempt from net metering caps, community shared solar and larger solar projects are not. As a result, development activity for these projects is expected to come to a halt unless the legislature raises the caps. Several bills have been filed this year to address the need to raise net metering caps in order to meet the Commonwealth’s 1600 MW solar target, and the future of the Commonwealth’s solar industry hangs in the balance as the Legislature reviews the bills on its table.
If you want to voice your support to raise the net metering caps, here’s what you can do:
- Tell Governor Baker to support solar in Massachusetts.
- E-mail or call your state legislators and ask them to raise net metering caps and to support the continuation of the successful SREC program in Massachusetts.
- Find out who your elected officials are here.
- Look up and track legislation here.
Visit The Official Website of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to learn more about net metering.