Massachusetts Raises Caps on Solar Net Metering

12 April 2016 Energy Current Blog

Massachusetts has raised the caps on the Commonwealth’s net metering program. The governor’s signature was inked on April 11, 2016 on a bill approved by the legislature last week, after months of negotiation.

Net metering programs allow homeowners and other solar customers to sell excess power they generate back to the electrical grid in exchange for a credit. Each utility has a cap on the amount of large-scale projects that can receive credits in their area. Existing net metering caps have been reached in much of Massachusetts, inhibiting further solar development in the state.

The new law, seen by many as a compromise between the competing interests of solar advocates and utility companies, will lift the cap by 3 percent (from 4 percent to 7 percent of peak load for privately owned systems, and from 5 percent to 8 percent for municipally owned installations) for public and private projects. While expanding the amount of eligible projects, the new law will lower the rate of individual credits by 40 percent for most new large-scale development.

The law also allows utilities to apply to state regulators for a “monthly minimum reliability contribution,” which is a fixed charge to the owners of solar systems. Utilities argue that these fixed fees are justified to offset financial burdens imposed on non-solar customers through the use of the utility’s electric distribution system by net metering customers.

Single-phase systems below 10 kW and multiphase systems below 25 kW, such as residential rooftop arrays, are exempt from the cap and reduced payments. Further, existing systems that are already connected to the grid are grandfathered in under the old rates for a period of 25 years.

Additional information on the net metering in Massachusetts can be found here and a copy of the bill that was signed into law can be found here.

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Related Services