We at Boston Green Blog love green, locally sourced energy and with growing popularity of solar panel use in Boston, there has been much talk about one of the solar incentives, net metering.
What is net metering?
Net metering allows solar panel users to “offset” overall usage which creates a balance between times of high and low energy usage. For instance, peak production of solar energy occurs during the day, which is coincidentally when most households are not using much energy at home. Conversely, the highest energy usage occurs in the morning and evenings when households are more active in the home. Net metering diverts solar panels’ surplus energy into the solar grid (solar network) for the energy company to sell to other customers. Many electric companies credit your household energy bill for this surplus energy given to the solar grid.
Sounds like a great way to make some extra money and get free energy for your home and community right? Not quite. Currently, there is a limit or “cap” to how much solar production the electric companies will pay.
Why is there is a net metering cap in Massachusetts?
Currently, there is a 2% net metering cap in Massachusetts, and this means that energy companies are only required to credit customers for 2% of the energy their panels create and send to the grid. These caps ensure that electric enterprises still generate a profit even though they are selling electricity that costs them nothing to create and store.
Without the net metering cap, Massachusetts could be 100% self-sustainable, and most importantly, low-income families could greatly benefit from having a “cap free” solar panel market. In fact, Massachusetts’ Senate 1831 and House 3396, which were both heard by the joint committee in Boston on October 3, 2017, aim to raise the net metering cap to 5% and to ensure lower-income communities can benefit from solar power incentives. Although these bills do not eliminate the net metering cap, it is a step towards a greener Boston!
Learn more about the Senate bill 1831 here.
Learn More about the House bill 3396 here.
This post is by Casey Byrd, one of Boston Green Blog's newest contributors! Learn more about Casey and the rest of the team here.