Vote Solar commended the Massachusetts legislature for putting forward key climate legislation that will send a strong signal that the state remains committed to clean energy and to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy, which Vote Solar urges Governor Baker to sign into law, is the first major update to the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act and it represents a positive step forward for the Commonwealth. The Act would require the state to source 40% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, with an end goal of 100% net-zero emissions by 2050, according to WBUR. WBUR reports the Act will be put before the House and Senate for up-or-down votes during the final two days of sessions for the state’s current General Court.
“This bill is a huge step forward for the Commonwealth, and a testament to the tenacity of both our elected leaders and advocates during this extremely challenging time,” said Stephan Roundtree, Jr., Northeast Director of Vote Solar. “The conference committee and legislative leadership have risen to meet the moment, and the Commonwealth is now poised to rejoin the global climate fight in earnest. If passed, the bill would shift power to communities facing environmental injustice, loosen restrictions on local solar power, and kickstart the green economy, all while developing an equitable and swift decarbonization roadmap.”
“This legislation creates a clear path forward,” Roundtree continued. “Yet important steps remain for the Commonwealth to build the climate-ready world that we need: Gov. Baker must commit to 100% renewable electricity, and further actions to scale up renewables serving low-income Bay Staters to make good on the promise of a socially equitable and carbon-neutral Massachusetts. The Baker administration now has its work cut out to walk that path.”
SEIA says the Act would create much-needed tax certainty for solar projects.
“This legislation is a roadmap that will ultimately help the Commonwealth of Massachusetts decarbonize its economy. There are several positive developments for the solar industry, including measures that encourage the SMART program to serve more low-to-moderate income customers and exempt certain businesses from the Commonwealth’s solar net-metering caps,” said David Gahl, senior director of state affairs at SEIA, in a statement. “After months of negotiations, the bill now includes a provision that clarifies how taxes are assessed by towns and municipalities on wind, solar and energy storage systems. In short, homeowners and small businesses will not see their property taxes increase when they install small solar systems. Larger solar systems will be exempt from taxes if they already have an agreement in place for other tax payments.
“This is a reasonable framework and one that should provide clarity to the tax law and increased certainty for both large and small solar firms,” he continued. “We commend the legislature for including this compromise in the final version of the roadmap and we urge Governor Baker to sign this bill into law.”
News item from Vote Solar. Updated with SEIA’s statement on January 5.