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Ben Hellerstein,
Environment Massachusetts

With 2020 target achieved, future of solar energy in doubt

For Immediate Release

Boston – The amount of solar energy capacity installed in Massachusetts recently surpassed 1,600 megawatts, three years ahead of the goal set out by then-Governor Deval Patrick in 2013.

With state officials considering major changes to Massachusetts’ solar policies, the Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center submitted comments today on the proposed Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program.

Ben Hellerstein, Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center State Director, issued the following statement:

“Hitting our 2020 solar target in 2017 should be a reason to set our sights even higher. It shouldn’t be an excuse for resting on our laurels.

Solar is growing rapidly, thanks to strong state and local policies, an innovative solar industry, and the enthusiasm of thousands of residents, businesses, and institutions that have switched to solar. For all the progress we’ve made, there’s much more we can do. In fact, solar has the potential to provide twice as much electricity as the entire state uses each year.

But the proposed SMART program, in its current form, threatens to slow our solar progress. It would create uncertainty and establish arbitrary barriers to solar development, and exclude many people who want to switch to solar — including low-income families, renters, and residents of communities with municipal light plants. What’s more, the program only provides for an additional 1,600 megawatts of solar development, even though our recent progress suggests that we can go much further.

Now that we’ve hit our solar goal ahead of schedule, it’s time to think even bigger. Massachusetts deserves a solar program that puts us on a fast track to 100 percent renewable energy. Our climate and our health can’t wait.”

Click here to read our comments.

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The Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting Massachusetts’ air, water and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help Bay Staters make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives.