August 11, 2016

Maine solar policies undergo mandated review

The battle over a Maine solar energy policy is getting exposure elsewhere in New England.

The Boston Globe picked up an Associated Press report on the future of a Maine policy that gives credits to owners of solar energy systems for the retail value of the excess power they feed back into the grid.

Gov. Paul LePage calls the nearly 30-year-old law a reverse Robin Hood program that lets those who can afford solar generators shift costs onto other consumers.

The net-metering policy is now under review by the Maine Public Utilities Commission because of a state law that is triggered when solar generation hits 1% of an electric utility's total load.

In an updated analysis of the value of solar power generated in Maine, released on Aug. 5, the Natural Resources Council of Maine refutes Gov. LePage's position. Its analysis states that "by reducing peak demand, the 20 megawatts of solar power currently installed in Maine will cut electricity bills by about $45 million for homeowners, renters, and businesses that do not have solar installed."

Additional benefits from solar add $17 million more in ratepayer savings, avoid pollution from not burning fossil fuels (valued at $58 million) and create local jobs, according to the NRCM report.

Read more

Solar power advocates aren't happy with PUC's final rule

PUC on the hot seat over proposed solar 'net metering' rules


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