Solar Mobility System Standards and Pilot Program

TAKE ACTION:   Please contact your Massachusetts Representative and Senator to ask for their support for H.4714, An Act relative to economic development in the Commonwealth, including Amendment 69 for Solar Mobility Standards and a pilot program. Find your State Rep and Senator’s names and contact information at https://malegislature.gov/People/Search  Thank you!

As of July 9, 2018, the Solar Mobility Standards and Pilot Program are included in H.4714,”An act relative to economic development in the commonwealth.” Amendment 69, which gives a directive to the MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to create a pilot program for solar and renewable energy mobility systems and sets forth specific standards to allow private enterprise to build Solar Mobility systems on public rights-of-way. This Amendment 69 restores the wording that had been removed when S. 2302, the omnibus clean energy bill was pared down to become S.2545. S.2302 had been reported out of the Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change on February 14, 2018. The Solar Mobility Standards as submitted by Senator Marc Pacheco were given a hearing in the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy on Oct. 3, 2017.   In January 2017 these standards were also filed as S.1970 “An act relative to rapid transit systems” by Senator Patrick O’Connor, Senator Don Humason, Jr. and Representative Russell Holmes.  The standards were previously submitted by Senator Patrick O’Connor in 2016 and approved by the Senate as part of the Senate version of the Omnibus Energy Bill of 2016.   An earlier version, the Personal Rapid Transit bill,  Senate Bill 1837, was filed in the Massachusetts legislature by Senator Bob Hedlund and Representative David DeCoste. Secaucus, NJ, adopted similar Performance Standards to allow Solar Personal Rapid Transit, but is waiting for New Jersey to pass the Performance Standards, which would permit crossing the state expressway between Secaucus and Giant Stadium.

The Solar Mobility Standards  will allow innovative solar-powered transit to be built on Massachusetts rights-of-way when it:

  1. is built and operated with private capital,
  2. is highly energy efficient–exceeds moving a person 120 miles per the equivalent of one gallon of gasoline,
  3. gathers at least 2 megawatt-hours of renewable energy per network-mile per typical day
  4. meets the American Society for Testing and Materials safety standards used for amusement rides–these standards have achieved an outstanding safety record, have an enforcement system in place in Massachusetts, and work with a variety of designs; they include a system of licensing, inspection and insurance
  5. pays 5% of its gross revenue to the aggregate owners of the rights-of-way–in other words, instead of taking money, it makes money for governments.

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/H4714                                                               S.4714 An act relative to economic development in the commonwealth

Amendment 69. The executive office of energy and environmental affairs shall develop a pilot program for solar and renewable energy mobility systems.

Nonexclusive access to rights-of-way may be granted to solar and renewable energy mobility system network providers if the networks: (i) are privately-funded construction; (ii) are privately operated without government subsidies; (iii) exceed 120 passenger miles per gallon or equivalent energy efficiency; (iv) exceed safety performance of transportation modes already approved for use; and (v) gather more than 2 megawatt-hours of renewable energy per network mile per typical day.

The executive office of energy and environmental affairs shall promulgate regulations for solar and renewable energy mobility system networks based on the following criteria: (i) system design, fabrication, installation, safety, insurance and inspection practices consistent with the American Society for Testing and Materials International Committee F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices; (ii) environmental approvals which shall be granted based on a ratio of energy consumed per passenger mile of the innovation versus transport modes approved to operate in the rights-of-way; and (iii) provided, however, that taxes and fees assessed on solar and renewable energy mobility system network providers, passengers and cargo shall be limited to 5 per cent of the gross revenues and shall be paid to the aggregate rights-of-way holders by the solar or renewable energy system network provider.

Benefits

  • Solar Mobility will provide fast, safe, affordable transportation that solves the Commonwealth’s transportation challenges using private capital
  • 5% of Solar Mobility’s gross revenue will be paid to the owners of the rights of way, generating $269 million to $540 million in revenue for State and municipal governments, depending on the split in new transportation between Solar Mobility and bicyclists
  • If we convert 35% of transportation into a sustainable system by the end of 2020, people in Massachusetts would save $2.4 billion per year, which is 35% of the $6.9 billion we currently spend on gasoline per year, which would boost the State’s economy
  • Solar Mobility Systems will eventually cut most of the 40% of the State’s carbon emissions that come from transportation, thus enabling the State to meet the proposed greenhouse gas emissions goals for 2030, 2040 and 2050

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