Solar Developers Are Reaching Targets Earlier than Expected

Massachusetts on target to exceed solar energy goals, amid debate over solar incentives

Mass Live, September 8, 2015. Image credit: 15299

Massachusetts could reach its targets for solar energy early, if lawmakers lift a cap on a state program that helps solar developers, Baker administration officials said Tuesday.

State law sets a goal of generating 1,600 megawatts of solar energy by 2020.

Bartlett’s remarks, which were echoed by Gov. Charlie Baker, came several days after the pro-solar energy group Environment Massachusetts released a report, which found that Massachusetts ranked fourth among all states in the amount of solar electricity capacity installed in 2014. Massachusetts ranked sixth in total installed solar capacity and eighth in solar electricity capacity per person. The new numbers come as the Legislature is considering changing the incentives available for developing solar energy in Massachusetts.

Net metering is a practice by which companies can generate solar energy and receive a financial credit for any energy they generated but did not use. The state imposed a cap on net metering credits, which has been raised several times since it was created in 2007.

The report from Environment Massachusetts found that solar electricity is concentrated in a few states. The top 10 states for solar energy capacity, including Massachusetts, account for 26 percent of the U.S. population and 86 percent of total installed solar electricity capacity. In all these states, government has set policies to encourage solar energy use – such as setting goals for solar energy or allowing net metering.

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