Haverhill’s largest rooftop solar array is at Leewood Realty, 60 Newark St.
While Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is expected Monday to sign compromise legislation on solar energy incentives, Rep. Brian S. Dempsey (D-Haverhill), defended the final version of the bill after criticism from a business trade group.
Dempsey, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, rebutted a claim by the
Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) the measure had “the potential for ratepayers to be on the hook for $8 billion over the next decade to subsidize solar,” according to State House News Service, Boston. AIM urged lawmakers last week to reject the compromise bill between House and Senate versions from a conference committee. Dempsey, however, alleged the business group had “misread, or at least ignored, the political realities on the ground.”
“There has to be a dose of reality in terms of the landscape and the will of the legislature and the administration to continue (the incentive program),” State House News Service quoted Dempsey as saying. “To expect that through this process that there wasn’t going to be a middle ground between viewpoints is really unrealistic.”
The bill would lift a cap on the amount of solar power eligible for net metering credits. Net metering allows customers to generate electricity with solar panels and receive credit for any surplus electricity they generate but do not use.
Dempsey referenced a letter from more than 100 lawmakers supporting no change to the solar incentive program. His rebuttal was described as a “rare admonishment from House leadership, which typically enjoys a close, collaborative relationship with the business trade group.” The legislative compromise is the result of five months of negotiations between the House and Senate over solar incentives.
“AIM is a community of Massachusetts employers working together to improve the business climate and create economic opportunity by reducing the cost of health care, taxes, unemployment insurance and other business expenses; shaping state and federal business regulation; and ensuring a skilled and highly educated work force,” a statement on the group’s website reads.
Baker is expected to sign the bill “to reform incentives and lift the cap on the amount of solar power that can be sold back to the grid,” at 11 a.m., today, in the governor’s office.