BASEA Masthead



“Promoting Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Future”


Thursday, Nov 12th, 2015



Massachusetts Solar Policy Update

In 2013, we held a BASEA Forum to bring attention to the "Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline" campaign. We thought it was important, but not well-known. We wanted to help get the word out. And now, at last, President Barack Obama has said "to hell with Keystone XL".

This Thursday, we have an open discussion with three local thinkers and doers (and believers!) on Massachusetts solar policy - our local fight. We think it's important. We are getting the word out.

It's the same fight, essentially, as Keystone XL: Fossil-fuel-dependent utilities, and their backers, have brought out their big-gun, multi-million-dollar-compensated CEO, Tom May ($19M in 2104? Disgusting!), to throw his weight around at our state representatives. His idea to save all of us "ratepayers" is to tax those who produce energy cleanly, with solar systems. As one of our Mass Solar coalition colleagues put it:

"If Tom May cared about ratepayers' well-being first and foremost, he would work the rest of his life for zero pay--acknowledging that he has already accumulated more wealth than any thousand average families will see in their lifetimes."

Fred Unger leads our discussion for the November BASEA Forum, an update on solar policy in Massachusetts, along with Mark LeBel (Acadia Center) and Nathan Phelps (Vote Solar). We can't tell you today just what will be discussed on November 12th, as things are moving fast on Beacon Hill:


STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, NOV. 2, 2015.....House Speaker Robert DeLeo said, "We're taking a serious look at, and hopefully we'll see, the net metering legislation... getting onto the governor's desk." — Colin A. Young, STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

Fred has helped to develop more than 10 MW of renewable energy. In 2007, Massachusetts had less than that in total installed capacity; we now have 967 MW. Forward looking policy and market factors enabled this tremendous growth, but it is now partially halted by net metering caps. Governor Baker has a bill to lift net metering caps, but it is a Trojan horse that seeks to put future restrictions on solar deployment, rather than simply removing the net metering obstacles.

Which way will the political winds blow before legislators put formal sessions on hold for the year? Expect a lively, roundtable, interactive discussion of the latest solar policy news, what we might see moving forward and lessons learned from the solar industry's policy efforts over the last couple of years. Join in at the Boston Area Solar Energy Association November Forum!

If you haven't contacted your Mass. House representative - do it now! Here's how:
  1. Call the House Switchboard (617) 722-2000 — ask to be put through to your Representative
  2. Say to them: "Raise the caps on net metering before Thanksgiving so solar can continue to grow."
  3. Get a friend to do the same and report back to help us keeps tabs — email


Fred Unger, Heartwood Group, Inc.

Fred has managed hundreds of energy efficient construction and development projects, including development and permitting of a 3.3 MW wind project. For the last seven years, he has managed development and operations for BCC Solar, a solar project development company that owns and operates 4 MW of solar projects serving low income communities and is currently building an additional 2.9 MW. He currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Solar Energy Business Association of New England and previously served as Chair of the Building Energy Conference and Treasurer of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association.


Mark LeBel, Acadia Center

Mark is a staff attorney at Acadia Center, Boston office, working on transportation (electric vehicles, clean fuels) and electric utility grid modernization. During law school, he was Articles Editor at NYU Environmental Law Journal, and interned at NRDC's Environmental Law Clinic and the Government Civil Litigation Clinic, U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York. Prior to law school, he was an Associate Analyst with NERA Economic Consulting in Boston. Mark holds a JD with honors from NYU School of Law and an AB with honors in Applied Mathematics with a focus in Economics from Harvard College.


Nathan Phelps, Vote Solar

Nathan, Program Manager, focuses on regulatory design for distributed generation. Prior to joining Vote Solar, Nathan was a Senior Economist at the Massachusetts Dept of Public Utilities. Nathan holds an undergraduate degree from Willamette University and a graduate degree from Tufts University.

Location: First Parish in Cambridge Unitarian Universalist 
3 Church Street, Harvard Square

Time: Doors open at 7:00 p.m.  Presentation begins at 7:30 p.m.

Your donations support BASEA.

Climate Ride - NYC-DC 2014



Please visit and support:

Somerville Community Growing Center
22 Vinal Avenue
Somerville,MA 02143


One-day Workshops for Building Professionals - Various Locations

Smart Building: High Performance Homes

Learn the latest in smart building techniques through presentations, case studies and discussion, from foundation to roofs. Presented by the Center for EcoTechnology and the CSG; and the Mass. Department of Energy Resources. Smart Building Flyer

AEENE Dinner Meeting and Seminar: The Association of Energy Engineers, New England Chapter

Monthly meeting, first Wednesday of the Month (check for details) AEENE Meeting Schedule


Volunteers Are Always Needed for the Forum, the annual Junior Solar Sprint competition, and the website.


Visit our Forum page, where you'll find our complete listing of past forum speakers, topics, and resources.

The BASEA Forum Series is held September through May, on the second Thursday of each month, at the 1st Parish Unitarian Church, #3 Church St., Harvard Square, Cambridge. Reception begins at 7:00 pm, with the program beginning at 7:30. The forums are free and open to the public.


BASEA Activities and Services

  • BASEA Forum - Renewable Energy Lecture Series
  • Junior Solar Sprint - Model solar car competition for middle school science students, organized and sponsored by BASEA in Eastern Massachusetts.


BASEA is looking for additional ways to help create a more sustainable energy future.

Please spend some time thinking about this question, and send your suggestions in to us.


Also, if you are interested in working with this group, please let us know. Send comments or questions to

  • BASEA is no longer a chapter of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) but supports it's mission. Links to NESEA and other regional, national and international solar organizations can be found on the BASEA Links page.


BASEA's Mission

The Boston Area Solar Energy Association is convinced that New England's primary dependence on non-renewable energy sources is costly to our environmental, social, economic and political systems.

Therefore, we foster the design and use of solar and sustainable energy technologies through education, advocacy and the demonstration of practical, cost effective techniques.

It is our goal to promote Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Future.

Please remember that your donations support BASEA.


BASEA is affiliated with

The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association

The American Solar Energy Association.

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The International Solar Energy Association