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Environmentalists Fear Massachusetts Solar Growth In Jeopardy

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An environmental group warns solar power growth in Massachusetts is threatened by a months-long stalemate over the future of a program to compensate the owners of solar installations.

To make the case for net-metering, which allows roof-top solar owners to receive credits for the power generated, Environment Massachusetts produced a report that compiles 11 seperate cost-benefit analyses of solar energy. 

Ben Hellerstein, state director of the environmental group, said their report highlights the societal and environmental benefits of solar.

" Net-metering is a fair way to compensate solar owners," he said.  " State officials should act immediately to raise the caps and commit to ambitious solar goals."

Utility companies argue that without net-metering caps, non-solar power users get stuck with all the costs for maintaining the electric grid.  The Baker administration says it wants a long term solution to encourage more solar power without subsidies.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.