The US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has requested Massachusetts to establish a more aggressive solar programme to bring it up to the same level as other north-eastern US states.
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources recently filed draft revised regulations to its current solar carve-out programme, including an adjustment to the compliance obligation formula effective for 2013 and to prepare a “queuing” system for projects seeking qualification as Massachusetts approaches the 400MW capacity cap.
Massachusetts is currently within a year to 18 months of reaching its 400MW target under the existing solar programme. New Jersey has a 4GW goal for solar energy deployment while Maryland has a 1.3GW goal.
“This process is an important step in the right direction,” explained Carrie Cullen Hitt, Senior Vice President for State Affairs at the SEIA. “Based on the capabilities of the growing Massachusetts solar industry and the commonwealth’s solar potential, we urge the Patrick Administration to move to triple or quadruple the target.”
“The commonwealth’s forward-thinking policies ensure that solar will become an increasingly significant component in Massachusetts’ energy portfolio – one that helps contain electricity costs for families and businesses,” Hitt added. “By setting the bar higher for solar, Governor Patrick can help to build a robust, sustainable clean technology economy in Massachusetts for many years to come. We look forward to working with the governor, the legislature and other stakeholders to move this initiative forward.”
Massachusetts is currently ranked ninth among states in terms of cumulative installed solar capacity, according to the latest. According to SEIA figures, there are approximately 4,500 solar professionals working at 229 companies in Massachusetts. Since the end of 2009, cumulative installed solar photovoltaic capacity in Massachusetts has increased from 16MW to more than 200MW. SEIA claims this growth rate is among the fastest in the nation.
Massachusetts has several successful solar initiatives in place, including Solar Renewable Energy Credits, Solarize Massachusetts, Commonwealth Solar Green Communities and Leading by Example. These programs allow Massachusetts residents and businesses to leverage incentives to buy or lease solar power systems. Solar customers are also permitted to sell any unused power they generate back to an electric company.