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House Passes Solar Energy Legislation, Lifts Net-Metering Cap

Updates Will Support Thriving Industry While Protecting Ratepayers
BOSTON – Representative Joseph McGonagle joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass legislation that immediately raises the net-metering cap while providing a long-term roadmap for future solar development beginning once Massachusetts reaches its 2020 solar energy goals. This bill provides a predictable and stable framework for the continued growth of the state’s solar industry while the House advances its work on omnibus energy legislation.
The immediate cap increase, which equals 2 percent for private facilities and 2 percent for public facilities, will allow the majority of net metering projects currently in the development pipeline to progress. This change represents a 44 percent increase of the overall cap.
“Energy policy is one of the most crucial issues facing the Commonwealth today,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said. “Today’s efforts and those we will undertake later in the session will help foster a sustainable renewable energy industry while ensuring ratepayers are treated fairly. I’m proud of the progress the House is making to strike a balanced approach that will serve our state’s environmental and economic needs both now and far into the future.”
“This bill represents a balanced approach,” said Representative Brian S. Dempsey, Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means (D-Haverhill). “It will help to foster the solar industry, ensure the continued flow of projects and for the first time ever commit in legislation to the goal of 1600 megawatts of solar
energy. I am also proud that the House is standing firmly on the side of the ratepayer by including reforms that will, over time, lessen their burden and lower peoples' monthly bills.”
“This legislation will serve to progress our growing solar industry in the Commonwealth while also looking out for the ratepayer,” said Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr., Chair of Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy (D-Lowell). “I am pleased with the balanced result the House and the Committee have been able to obtain.”
“What a great step forward to encourage the growth of the solar energy industry in Massachusetts and solar energy as a viable, affordable alternative for Massachusetts homeowners and businesses,” said State Representative Joseph McGonagle (D-Everett). “This legislation, coupled with the reforms expected to be included in the omnibus energy bill, will make Massachusetts one of the most competitive states in the nation in efforts to develop solar power alternatives and reduce dependence on other fuels, he added.
These changes will better protect our ratepayers and ensure a cost-effective approach to the further development of solar power. Currently Massachusetts’ incentives are the highest in the country.
This legislation formally recognizes Massachusetts’ goal of developing 1600 megawatts (MWs) of solar power in the Commonwealth by 2020. All solar projects that are developed prior to the Commonwealth reaching the 1600MWs mark will be grandfathered in under existing incentive programs.
Upon meeting that goal, several reforms would be launched, as outlined below:
• Provides a framework for the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to create a new, less-costly incentive program that reflects a mature solar industry;

• Ensures that all ratepayers using the distribution system help pay for the maintenance, reliability and safety of our electric grid;

• Reforms our net metering program to more closely align with the price of power provided by the state’s other electric generators.

The House expects to pass an omnibus energy bill later in the session.
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TOTAL WINE & for opening in 2016.
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                                                                                                Save the Date – Friday, November 27th 

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