No doubt, you, like most other solar owners, are wondering how could the Patrick Administration and DOER have allowed the utilities to takeover the future of solar PV. There is no question the “Compromise Net Metering Bill,” must be stopped or significantly altered. It is sad to report that the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy voted with little or no discussion to approved the Utility & DOER collaboration, have sent it on to Ways & Means for additional review. Again make no mistake this legislation will negatively effect every solar owner. MASOA stands against this bill now numbered H4185 (click here for full bill text) for the following reasons, and ask everyone reading this to write their legislators to protest both the content and the process used to railroad it through the legislature for the benefit of the utilities:
- Solar owners and the local photovoltaic installers industry and other sectors were excluded from the closed-door discussions that produced this bill.
- The “Compromise Bill” is not a compromise but rather a secret sweetheart deal between the utilities, utility favored (and sponsored) solar organizations and DOER.
- The pace at which the “Compromise Bill” is being moved through disregards the ability for all stakeholders to adequately comment and make revisions.
- This bill would add a monthly minimum charge on everyone’s electric bill that targets solar PV (photovoltaic) customers who zero out their bills. This will place an undue and unjustifiable burden on the small PV system owner and sets up the solar industry as the scapegoat responsible for a new charge on everyone’s electric bill.
- This bill would slash the Virtual Net Metering rate nearly in half, which basically eliminates the viability of community shared solar or other sharing of solar PV systems for people who can’t install their own PV systems on their properties for financial, tenancy, shading, or aesthetic reasons.
- This bill would limit the size or capacity to generate electricity onsite to a maximum of 100% of the customer’s 3-year electrical demand with the onus on the customer to prove any future electrical needs. Such a provision cannot go further in the WRONG direction, in the face of our need to POUR solar power into our electricity supply, worldwide, in order to pull down greenhouse-gas emissions as rapidly as possible. We do not understand how the Massachusetts legislature can even consider such a law.
- This bill would replace a known Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC) program that serves all with an unknown, yet-to-be-determined, Declining Block Incentive which will be set by DOER and managed by individual utilities each in their own style as ordered through a lengthy and arcane DPU tariff process and then subject to constant amendment at utilities requests forever.
For all of these reasons, we urge you to actively oppose this so-called “compromise bill” both with your own vote and more importantly as a leader and educator among your legislators in the Statehouse.
Keep watching this website for updates … in the meantime start composing your own letters, emails and phone message to send to your representatives and senators (click here) as this legislation is likely to be considered in the next month, or at the latest July 31st.