THERE IS A GROWING SENTIMENT of frustration among the business community in Massachusetts. As businesses from manufacturing to service, small to large, and from all corners of Massachusetts met with lawmakers on Feb. 11, their message was clear and unanimous: Massachusetts businesses support solar energy development.
However, due to inaction by House Speaker Robert DeLeo, solar development in the state has been effectively put on hold. This week, the major solar incentive program which issues solar renewable energy certificates (SREC II) hit its limit as the amount of installed solar capacity in Massachusetts quickly reaches 1,600 MW. As concerned constituents and business leaders flood the State House with emails and phone calls, members of the House of Representatives need to take this urgent issue to the Speaker’s office.
Major utility companies and associated interest groups have sought to dominate the conversation with a misinformation campaign about the exorbitant costs of solar while choosing to ignore the many benefits. Most notably they have lead the charge to falsely portray the net metering program as a subsidy when in reality it provides homeowners and businesses with fair compensation for the excess solar power they give back to the grid.
As net metering caps have been hit in 175 communities in the Commonwealth and with the SREC II program expiring, the state’s solar economy is at a standstill. Solar businesses across the state are starting to feel the effects of this industry slowdown. Due to the caps, companies have started to lay off employees. If we do not act soon, these businesses are going to start moving their operations to out-of-state competitors such as California, North Carolina, New York, and New Jersey.
Our state’s leaders are hanging one of the Commonwealth’s fast growing industries out to dry. Businesses across the state have been calling upon politicians to work together in new ways, which move us beyond this debate and strengthen Massachusetts’s position as a clean energy leader. Without immediate action from an ambitious coalition of members from the House, the state of Massachusetts stands to lose the solar industry, the 15,000 jobs it provides, as well as the millions of dollars it contributes to state revenue.
CABA’s Policy Coordinator Kate Galbo’s op-ed was recently featured in Commonwealth Magazine, and it caused quite a stir. Here’s a quick snippet: