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Solar use will push energy costs up in Mass.

State officials see the expanded production targets triggering a proliferation of solar power across the state.
State officials see the expanded production targets triggering a proliferation of solar power across the state.Matthew Cavanaugh for The Boston Globe /file 2011

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Massachusetts utility customers could get hit with more than $1 billion in higher electricity bills over the next two decades under Gov. Deval Patrick’s plan to dramatically expand solar power in the state, government and industry officials said Tuesday.

A top state official said that the average residential customer would pay $1 to $1.50 a month under the Patrick plan, which aims to cut air pollution and create more jobs in the growing solar-energy industry.

In a filing with state regulators last month, Northeast Utilities, which serves 1.3 million customers in the state, contended Patrick’s plan to quadruple the amount of solar power in use in Massachusetts would lead to consumers paying “excess costs” of more than $1 billion because of how they would be forced to buy the electricity.

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