SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Speakers gathered at Springfield City Hall Tuesday to discuss the hold on solar power efforts in Massachusetts, and how that has affected communities.

Since March, solar projects have been at a standstill, due to limits on a key solar program, known as net metering.

Solar power has given Massachusetts many benefits already. Last year alone, the state had enough solar power to run 50,000 homes with clean energy. Solar helped reduce carbon emissions that fuel climate change, and also helped to avoid harmful pollution. Solar also helped provide more than 12,000 jobs statewide, and helped consumers reduce their energy costs.

Ben Hellerstein of the group Environment Massachusetts told 22News that the net metering caps are getting in the way of progress. Their message was clear: it’s summer, and we should be doing everything we can to soak up the rays of the sun.

“Communities in the Pioneer Valley are eager to go solar but the net metering caps are holding them back, our state leaders should act quickly to keep solar growing,” Hellerstein said.

As a result of the cap, many businesses, local governments, and nonprofits that hoped to install solar panels are no longer able to do so.

Last year, Massachusetts was fourth in the nation for the amount of solar energy installed. The state could get up to 20% of its electricity from solar by 2025, if the caps are raised.To learn more about net metering, visit the website of the Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs.