Massachusetts hits both net metering, REC caps, halting a ton of solar business

massachusetts solar regulation

Another state rocking and rolling in solar installations is turning off the lights and unplugging the speakers,at least for now. We turn to Massachusetts, still one of the top solar states, which hit its net metering cap last year, and has just now hit its renewable energy certificates cap this week.

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While everyone knew the REC cap was close (1,600 MW statewide), few anticipated how quickly developers would file for them this year, which makes this news feel like an abrupt halt.

The net metering cap could be raised, but the issue is in legislative limbo, with a solar-friendly Senate bill and a utility-friendly House bill both stalled. As both sides plead their case, the industry must wait.

From the Boston Globe:

“The industry’s on hold, basically,” said John DeVillars, managing principal at Boston solar developer BlueWave Capital. “Until there’s clarity on the next incentive program, very little activity will take place.”

“Massachusetts has been one of the top three markets for commercial scale solar,” said Mike Hall, chief executive of California-based Borrego Solar. “But I would say Massachusetts has more uncertainty than any of the other large solar markets in the US right now.”

Senator Benjamin Downing, co-chairman of the Legislature’s energy committee, said it’s still possible that the issue could be resolved soon. But it’s also possible that the solar debate could get wrapped up into the debate over a broader energy bill. That would mean a final decision might not happen until July, the last month of the Legislature’s formal session.