House Votes to Include Rep. Benson’s Solar Task Force Amendment in Budget

(BOSTON) – On Tuesday, April 28, 2015, the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted in favor of a consolidated Environmental and Energy Affairs amendment, which includes Representative Jennifer Benson’s budget amendment that establishes a task force charged with reviewing interconnection standards and circuit capacity for installation of solar panels in the Commonwealth.

As part of consolidated amendment H. 3400, passed on the second day of this year’s House budget deliberation, the task force’s specific areas of review will include: 1) The proper protocols for the interconnection process to ensure reliability and safety of the electric grid; 2) Guidelines for the Department of Public Utilities’ interconnection tariffs; 3) Recommendations for who shall contribute to the fiscal impact of infrastructure investment updates; and 4) The ways in which the circuit capacity cap may be increased in order to accommodate additional interconnected distributed generation.

“This task force is a great step toward solving the problem of solar panel connectivity that constituents have been encountering in Lunenburg and across the state,” said Representative Benson. “There shouldn’t be any barriers in the way of homeowners and businesses who want to install solar panels on their properties. I’m confident that the task force will find solutions that will make it easier and more affordable for people to install solar panels.”

The amendment was proposed by Representative Benson in response to an issue in the Town of Lunenburg where homeowners who have installed solar panels are finding that they are unable to connect the solar panels to the electrical grid due to circuit capacity regulations set by the Department of Public Utilities and regional power companies.

If the amendment language is included in the final Fiscal Year 2016 budget, the task force will be comprised of legislators, solar industry experts, and representatives from relevant state agencies. The taskforce will report their findings by October 1, 2015.