Could The Sun Set On Maine's Solar Industry?

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The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is holding a public meeting today on the contentious issue of net-metering reform at 1 pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

The proposed changes, supported by Maine’s Governor Paul LePage, would increase the maximum size for an eligible generating facility from 660 kW to 1 MW, but would gradually reduce the amount of the power produced that would be eligible for net-metering over time.

It would also grandfather previous net-metering agreements for a period of 15 years and set the limit for new systems at 10 years. Lastly, it would “protect” non-solar customers from having to shoulder transmission-and-distribution (T&D) costs solar customers do not have because they consume the electricity they produce on site.

Numerous studies in states across the country — including two in Maine (2015 and 2016, respectively)— undercut the utility’s contention that non-solar customers shoulder infrastructure costs avoided by solar customers. The most recent study,completed in August, reported that Maine’s solar customers could save non-solar customers $775 million over 25 years if only 250 MW were installed overall.

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