Environmental groups urge legislators to support net metering

By Melanie Escobar 

Environmental groups like Environment Massachusetts, Vote Solar, Boston Community Capital and more came together today in a public hearing to encourage legislators to extend and expand the state’s net metering program.

The net metering program allows solar panel owners to sell the extra energy produced back to the grid. This is what helps make solar energy more affordable.

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“It’s been one of the big things that’s been helping to drive our growth in solar energy here in Massachusetts,” said Ben Hellerstein, a field associate from Environment Massachusetts. “We’re encouraging our legislators today to keep that moving forward by passing a bill that would extend and expand that metering program.”

In 2007, Governor Deval Patrick made a goal for Massachusetts to get 250 megawatts, approximate 25,000 solar rooftops, of solar energy by 2017.

“At the time people assumed that it was impossible,” said Hellerstein. “ In fact, there were probably many people that were skeptical about it.”

This year the governor made a statement saying that we surpassed our goal three years ahead of schedule. The new goal is to quadruple Massachusetts’s solar energy by 2020.

“If we stick to the governor’s plan we’ll see over a 150,000 solar rooftops here in Massachusetts,” said the field associate. “Which means more and more homeowners, businesses and local governments are helping us move to towards a cleaner energy future.”

Residents can help with increasing solar power in Massachusetts by calling their legislators to support expanding the net metering program or just showing their support with solar energy.

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