January 11 (Renewables Now) - The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has approved a proposal by Eversource Energy for a demand charge on solar customers.
The DPU's order, dated January 5, approves a Monthly Minimum Reliability Contribution (MMRC) charge that will impact new net metering customers from December 31, 2018. All net metering customers, including residential, will be affected, which makes Massachusetts the first state to approve mandatory demand charges for residential customers, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said.
In a statement on Wednesday, the SEIA and the Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC) said the changes will hamper the spread of solar, storage, energy efficiency and possibly electric vehicles.
NECEC executive vice president Janet Gail Besser called the order "a huge step backwards" for the state and added it "will discourage customer adoption of clean energy across the Commonwealth, further slowing clean energy job growth and investment and threatening to undermine the Baker-Polito Administration’s goal to achieve another 1,600 megawatts (MW) of solar."
Eversource Energy says the MMRC is needed to ensure that the cost of serving distributed generation is not subsidised by other customers.