As reported in the Boston Globe on April 8, 2016, Governor Charlie Baker will sign on April 11, 2016 a compromise bill reached by the Massachusetts Legislature to significantly increase an important financial incentive for solar energy projects. The bill, which emerged from House-Senate negotiations, focuses on net metering – the way that solar energy beneficiaries get reimbursed for “selling” excess power to the grid though the local utility distribution companies.
The net metering program limits the number of solar projects eligible for net metering credits. Under the prior law, net metering was capped at 4 percent of each electric utility’s peak electric load for privately sector installations and 5 percent for public sector systems. Under the new law, those limits increase to 7 percent and 8 percent respectively, with an overall cap of 1600 megawatts (DC).
The new law also reduces the reimbursement rate for private sector solar projects by 40 percent, including projects constructed as Community Shared Solar projects, while keeping the higher retail rate for municipal and other public sector projects. Small projects, including those that would fit on the roof of a house, remain exempt from the net metering caps and will continue to get the higher retail rate.