On February 25 2016, a coalition of stakeholders - including solar companies, environmental groups, and utility companies - presented to the Legislature a proposal for new solar energy projects in Maine.
The proposal seeks to increase Maine’s current solar capacity to 250 megawatts in the next five years. As part of this, the proposal seeks to end net metering, a popular system that credits utility customers one-to-one on the amount of energy they generate for the grid. That is, customers of CMP and Emera who sometimes draw power from the grid and sometimes send power to it (from their solar panels or other renewable source) pay only for the “net” amount used on their monthly bill.
Net metering has been popular among solar advocates because it has spurred development and provided incentive for consumers to install solar projects. In the absence of net metering, grid-tied consumers would still be credited for their excess electricity, but it would be tied to a rate set by the Maine Public Utilities Commission, guaranteed for 20 years.
Proponents say the proposal strikes a balance between growing solar, creating jobs, and protecting rate payers and utility companies.
For more information about this issue, continue reading at the Portland Press Herald. Read the proposal here.
Image courtesy of humble Farmer.