In Massachusetts, solar developers and their potential customers are waiting to learn whether the final details of a new incentive program will help advance the role of renewables in the state or put a damper on growth.
Solar energy advocates are fighting a plan by utility giant Eversource to charge a variable monthly fee to Massachusetts customers generating their own power. With less than two days left in the state legislative session, opponents of the fee are hoping lawmakers pass a measure to stop the new charges before they take effect at the end of the year. “It is unfair, it’s confusing, and it’s not going to help our electric system,” said Sean Garren, a senior director for nonprofit advocacy group Vote Solar. “It hurts the economics of choosing to go solar without any strong data-driven reason.”
Eversource, meanwhile, contends that the fee is an equitable way to ensure households with solar power pay a fair share of the cost to maintain the electric distribution system. “We have to have the equipment on our system to meet their needs, regardless of how frequent or infrequent their need is,” said Eversource spokesman Michael Durand.
Massachusetts might be on the verge of becoming the second state to introduce a carbon pricing program aimed at the transportation sector – if lawmakers can agree on how to do it.