Coalition Urges Mass. Lawmakers to Oppose Pro-Utility Legislative Provisions

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A coalition of solar companies and clean energy advocacy organizations has sent a letter to Massachusetts Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo that strongly opposes a legislative provision that authorizes utilities to construct, operate and own solar projects.

The provision, Section 15H in the House Act Creating a 2050 Roadmap to a Clean and Thriving Commonwealth (H. 4993), would dramatically expand utility-owned solar in Massachusetts and effectively overturn the long-standing prohibition against utilities owning power plants. Current law is largely responsible for solar growth in Massachusetts and what helped the state create over 10,000 solar jobs. 

“Many years ago, the Massachusetts legislature broke up the state’s utilities because they had a monopoly on energy services and were socking ratepayers with high energy bills,” says David Gahl, senior director of Northeast state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “This provision is a time machine back to that era. These anti-competitive actions will prevent Massachusetts from seeing the full benefits of a healthy solar economy and will once again leave ratepayers to pick up the tab.” 

The proposed changes would dramatically impact the state’s ability to create and sustain local solar businesses and jobs.

The coalition, which includes the Coalition for Community Solar Access, MassSolar, the Northeast Clean Energy Council, the Solar Energy Business Association of New England (SEBANE), SEIA and Vote Solar, asserts that the changes would drive out local businesses at a time when Massachusetts is looking to get back on track amidst the global pandemic and economic uncertainty. 

The coalition notes that they strongly support putting aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets in law but urge them to drop Section 15H of H.4933 from the final climate legislation to preserve competition and protect Massachusetts’ solar industry. 

Photo: To read the full transcript of the coalition’s letter addressed to Massachusetts lawmakers, click here.

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