Maine PUC approves proposal to phase out net metering starting 2018

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
The PUC is attempting to strike a balance between eradicating net metering altogether, and taking into account falling PV prices. Source: Flickr/Terry Ross

The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved on Tuesday new rules for incentives for residential solar customers, namely by phasing out net metering over the next 15 years.

The new rules on net metering spring from governor Paul LePage, who supports the argument that solar users shift an unfair burden on non-solar users, by not paying for their use of the grid. In October, a debate was sparked surrounding whether the energy credits solar users get for selling power back to the grid were too generous.

In response, Maine regulators are implementing a plan to phase out the subsidy scheme altogether over 15 years, taking into account the falling prices of PV.

“The cost to install is declining. In the face of that news, as a regulator I am striving to keep the subsidy incentive as low as it can be while still achieving its intended aims of incentivizing renewable, indigenous generation,” said Commissioner Carlisle McLean in a statement.

The new rules will not take effect until 2018; meaning that existing solar users and anyone who installed solar before 1 January 2018, for 15 years, would be grandfathered and will still receive the full retail rate for their electricity. Under the new incentive scheme, the price of energy credits will be reduced by 10% every year, until it reaches the wholesale rate – which is significantly less than the existing retail rate.

Solar advocates are not endorsing the new rules, insisting that it will eradicate a key incentive for homeowners to go solar, as well as put a dampener on Maine’s burgeoning industry.

“Clean renewable energy sources are the best pathway our state has to lower energy prices, more good-paying jobs and a smaller carbon footprint,” said Seth Berry, a Democrat legislative committee chair. “The rule adopted today by the PUC seems to take us in the wrong direction by making major and disruptive changes despite overwhelming public input regarding risks to our energy and jobs markets.”

While the rule seeks to find a middle ground in the contentious debate, LePage is still not appeased by the new rules, saying that ratepayers are still unfairly being forced to subsidise solar for the next 25 years.

“Net energy billing customers should be compensated for the electricity they generate at fair market rates,” he said in a statement. “Other ratepayers should not be subsidizing those installations to make solar viable. If it cannot stand on its own two feet, they should not have to pay higher rates to some of the more affluent ratepayers.”

Read Next

July 29, 2021
Power product supplier Generac upgraded its forecast for 2021 after reporting an “exceptional” set of Q2 2021 results, boosted by strong sales growth in its residential and commercial and industrial (C&I) markets.
July 22, 2021
US Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has failed in a bid to fast-track the US’ US$1.2 trillion infrastructure investment bill through the Senate. But there remains hope that further progress could be made as early as next Monday, when some Republican senators believe the bill will be fit to proceed.
July 21, 2021
At least 455GW of new solar PV capacity will need to be installed each year by the end of this decade for the world to reach net zero status by 2050, new analysis by BloombergNEF (BNEF) has found.
PV Tech Premium
July 15, 2021
Earlier this week the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) published its 2021 Annual Technology Baseline (ATB) document, detailing the continued reduction in the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of the country’s core generators. Liam Stoker takes a look at the data and discusses just how cheap solar, and solar-storage, could become.
July 15, 2021
Legislation that would ban the import of all products from China’s Xinjiang region into the US has taken a critical step forward, passing the US Senate.
PV Tech Premium
July 12, 2021
BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2021, published late last week, highlights how the world’s energy systems are changing at rapid pace, but equally illustrates how that pace of change must accelerate across the world if established economies are to meet net zero targets. Liam Stoker looks at the key takeaways from the report.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
August 19, 2021
At 9am (PT) | 6pm (CEST)
Solar Media Events
August 25, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
BRISTOL, UK