NEW BEDFORD — While Massachusetts, led by New Bedford, is a national leader in solar power, its limits on solar and net metering is threatening its status.
That was the warning given by Environment Massachusetts, a statewide, citizen-funded advocacy group, at a Thursday press conference at the New Bedford High School solar farm.
According to a new report from the group, the state ranked fifth in the nation for the amount of solar energy capacity installed per person in 2014. The city of New Bedford has more solar per capita than anywhere in the country aside from Honolulu. But the city’s growth in solar energy could become stunted if state leaders do not lift the state’s net metering cap, the advocates said.
Mayor Jon Mitchell and Phil Cavallo, CEO of New Bedford-based Beaumont Solar, joined Environment Massachusetts to press the importance of lifting the cap to allow more local governments, businesses and nonprofits to install solar panels.
“Thanks to strong state-level policies, Massachusetts is a national leader for solar power. But arbitrary limits on solar are threatening to change that. Our state’s leaders should lift the caps on solar power and embrace big goals to grow solar in the years ahead,” said Sharon Solomon, impact organizer for Environment Massachusetts.
Net metering allows solar panel owners to be compensated for the electricity they provide to the grid. But in March, a cap on the net metering was hit for the 171 Massachusetts communities served by National Grid.