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Talking Points

It was a dark day for the solar power industry in Mass.

Solar developers and their environmentalist allies had hoped the Legislature would finally raise the caps on reimbursements to solar panel owners.Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff/File 2015

Solar developers and their environmentalist allies had hoped the Legislature would finally raise the caps on reimbursements to solar panel owners.

Well, they’ll have to keep waiting. Lawmakers wrap up their formal sessions for the year tonight. And they’re taking a pass on net metering -- an important way solar operators get credited for selling excess power onto the grid.

There was plenty for the clean-tech industry to like in the energy bill that emerged from closed-door negotiations last night. An increase in renewable energy requirements. Potentially more offshore wind on the horizon. New rules to expand the use of electricity storage.

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The bill also altered rules for calculating minimum monthly charges for solar customers, to the delight of some in the industry.

Missing in action: the net metering caps. These limits have been hit for new private-sector projects in National Grid’s service area and in Western Massachusetts. Solar proposals are piling up. The state’s solar industry shed 21 percent of its jobs last year, a loss in part attributed to these caps. (Good news for consumers: residential rooftop panels remain exempt from the limits.)

The Senate proposed eliminating the caps, a nonstarter in the House. Still, solar industry lobbyists had hoped they would see some relief -- in part because the Legislature has modestly lifted the caps before.

The industry awaits the rollout of another reimbursement program, nicknamed SMART. That program replaces a subsidy program with an even more awkward name, SREC II. Net metering or not, SMART is expected to reduce the state’s financial incentives for solar.

Eversource and Associated Industries of Massachusetts have fought generous net metering credits in the past, arguing they can pose an unfair burden to other ratepayers. This time, they offered supportive words for the new energy bill. Many people in the solar industry were decidedly less enthusiastic.

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Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.