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Mass. gets a glowing report on the state’s solar capacity

A solar facility on North Hixville Road in Dartmouth.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Data analysis should prompt an update of our clean energy policies

The Environmental League of Massachusetts appreciated the article on the Department of Energy Resources report demonstrating that Massachusetts has ample solar potential to reach its 2050 net-zero target (“State has plenty of room to expand its solar capacity, new analysis finds,” Page A1, July 7). This will help steer policy makers, developers, and municipalities toward the best sites, increasing our renewable energy supply while minimizing impacts on nature and communities.

The Healey administration and Legislature should make use of this data to update clean energy policies. Even with the many incentives available for residents and businesses seeking to install or purchase solar energy, there are many regulatory hurdles to getting projects built and connected to the grid, and the clock is ticking on climate. Policy makers must update solar incentive programs to encourage top-rated sites and lower costs and barriers for projects in the built environment.

At the same time, the Department of Public Utilities and ISO-New England, our regional grid operator, should identify improvements to the electric grid and interconnection processes that accelerate responsibly sited projects and put Massachusetts on track to meet its 2025 and 2030 clean energy requirements.


Massachusetts has immense potential to harness and grow our local solar energy supply, but we can only turn potential into action when our policy levers work effectively.

David Melly

Legislative director

Environmental League of Massachusetts


Now let us see an end to the destruction of forests and open space

Better late than never on determining that there is abundant opportunity for properly sited solar in our state (“State has plenty of room to expand its solar capacity, new analysis finds”).

For years, Massachusetts forests have been clear-cut and significant open space has been destroyed in order to build industrial-scale solar installations. Many towns in Southeastern Massachusetts in particular show the damage done by mindless approval of developer-driven projects. Residents who opposed this have not had enough clout to stop developers and large landowners.


We urgently need more solar, but so many misguided projects were built despite obvious siting alternatives. These alternatives, now documented in a detailed state analysis, include maximizing rooftop solar on residential and commercial buildings, building solar canopies in parking lots, and using open space along roadways. With this solid data now in hand and — hopefully soon — policies and incentives to match, we can stop the unnecessary destruction of our environment and finally be smart about solar.

Elizabeth L. Merrick