Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration has introduced net metering legislation, raising the total number of net metering bills introduced to thus far in the state to 16. The governor’s bill, H.B. 3724, raises the net metering cap from 4% of a utility’s peak load for private customers and 5% of a utility’s peak load for municipalities or government customers to 6% and 7%, respectively, while authorizing the Department of Public Utilities to raise the cap if the it deems doing so to be in the public interest. In the short term, the higher cap should alleviate current development delays that have arisen under the existing cap. HB 3724 also maintains the current exemptions from the cap for residential systems up to 10 kW on a single-phase circuit and for small commercial systems up to 25 kW on a three-phase circuit.
Meanwhile, the Senate passed a climate-mitigation bill on July 24 that also addresses the state’s net metering cap. S.B. 1979 replaces the existing cap with a 1,600-MW cap, and maintains the existing 10-MW limit on the maximum amount of system generating capacity eligible for net metering by a municipality or government agency. In the long term, S.B. 1979 requires the DPU to develop a new solar plan to ensure an incentive program structure that is available statewide, and provides general parameters for the program to implement once the 1,600-MW cap is met. Specifically, the new program must promote “the orderly transition to a stable, equitable and self-sustaining solar market,” and must promote energy justice and equitable access to solar, including support for community solar projects.