Amendment #4, as changed to H4912

Municipal Solar

Ms. Peake of Provincetown move to amend the bill, as amended, by inserting after section 15G the following section:

SECTION 15H.  Section 1A of chapter 164 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding a new subsection:-

(g) Municipalities, including those with environmental justice populations, at high risk from the effects of climate change may approve 1 or more solar energy projects owned and operated by an electric or gas distribution company constructing, owning and operating generation facilities on land owned therein, which is paired, where feasible, with energy storage facilities designed to improve community climate adaptation and resiliency or contribute to the commonwealth meeting its carbon emissions limits established in section 3 of chapter 21N.  Prior to project approval under this section, electric and gas distribution companies shall conduct an outreach program to promote the development of solar energy projects in environmental justice communities and to create program goals, including but not limited to job creation, peak demand reduction and system resiliency. Municipalities with environmental justice populations shall receive a preference for participation in such projects.

For the purposes of this section, a municipality at high risk from the effects of climate shall mean a city or town that can demonstrate to the department current or future significant changes to its population, land use or local economy resulting from changes in climate. Nothing in this section shall have the effect of, overriding, modifying, or terminating any applicable requirements for local zoning and permitting by a municipality.

Notwithstanding sections 1B to 1H of chapter 164, inclusive, electric and gas distribution companies may be eligible to assist a municipality at high risk from the effects of climate change in furthering its climate adaptation and resiliency goals by constructing, owning and operating solar generation facilities paired, where feasible, with energy storage facilities on land owned by the electric or gas distribution company within a municipality, including those with  environmental justice communities, at no cost to the municipality,  provided that such facilities may receive department approval for cost recovery.  Such company shall not construct, own or operate new facilities equaling more than 10 per cent of the total installed megawatt capacity of solar generation facilities in the commonwealth as of July 31, 2020.

Projects undertaken on behalf of a municipality for construction of utility-owned solar facilities shall be exempt from the prohibition on utility owned generation, subject to review and approval by the department of public utilities.  The department may review municipal petitions for development of utility-owned solar facilities and may allow cost recovery upon a showing that a site-specific development would provide environmental or climate change benefits to the community, municipality or to the commonwealth, or both in combination, warranting a site-specific exemption, and that the costs of the project are reasonable.

Affirmation of support by a municipality shall be presented to the department by an electric or gas distribution company in any petition for pre-approval of cost recovery for a solar energy generating facility and energy storage facility, where deemed feasible, and the department shall determine whether the proposal is consistent with the commonwealth’s energy policies, contributes to the climate change resiliency of the host municipality and mitigates peak energy demand.  In approving any such proposal, the department shall: (1) provide the criteria applied in reviewing the proposal; (2) provide the evidence provided in support of the proposal and relied on by the department in making its decision; and (3) identify the specific contributions to the commonwealth’s energy policies that will be attributable to the proposed facility and demonstrate the analytical foundation for the department’s approval of utility owned solar facilities.

The department may adopt such rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement this subsection.


Additional co-sponsor(s) added to Amendment #4, as changed to H4912

Municipal Solar


Daniel Cahill

Stephan Hay

Tami L. Gouveia

Paul W. Mark

William C. Galvin