Maine solar stakeholders petition to preserve net metering after proposed legislature threat

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
Residential installations by Sunrun. credit: Sunrun

Solar jobs and businesses in the US state of Maine are under threat if net metering is not kept intact under proposed legislative changes, according to the newly formed Solar Energy Association of Maine.

A total of 4,000 signatures were added to a petition aiming to preserve the current net metering system supported by solar installers, local and national businesses and environmental organisations. The petition follows a letter signed by 15 groups including local energy companies, the local IBEW union and national not-for-profits also calling on regulators to maintian net metering.

The Solar Energy Association of Maine said that out-of-state interests are partnering with utility Central Maine Power (CMP) to drive out local competition presented by alternatives such as residential solar.

Earlier this year, the national utility trade group, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), intervened in the solar stakeholder process, which Maine’s solar association said was an attempt to eliminate net metering before Maine's solar market can take off. The legislature is expected to take up legislation this month that will determine whether solar net metering will continue for Mainers.

Utilities across the US have been attacking net metering, with the most recent case of the Nevada Public Utilities Commission deciding to end net metering resulting in more than a thousand job losses and six companies ceasing operations in the state.

Chris Rauscher, director of public policy for Sunrun, said: “If solar net metering ends, the solar market will grind to a halt and the job loss will be equivalent to another Maine paper mill shutting down. Maine cannot afford to lose more well-paying jobs.

“Alternative policies, without the certainty of net metering as a side-by-side, give utility monopolies even more power. Utilities will have no incentive to make the new program work, which could lead to hundreds of hard-working Mainers losing their jobs and Maine ratepayers being forced to pay more.” 

Last week, an amendment to the US Senate Energy Bill aimed at protecting residential net metering, proposed by two senators, including one from Maine, was backed by solar industry groups.

Senator Angus King, an independent representative for Maine, sponsored the amendment, presenting it along with Nevada Democrat senator Harry Reid on 28 January. It is among close to 200 other proposed amendments to the US’ politically bipartisan S.2102, the ‘Energy policy modernisation act’.

The amendment proposes protecting customers’ existing net metering arrangements from retroactive changes to rules, while giving the utility the freedom to “rates to each rate class designed to recover all reasonable costs to the electric utility of providing service to the electric consumers in that class”.

Read Next

May 7, 2021
US solar installer SunPower expects deployment to surge in the coming quarters as tailwinds and refreshed business strategy combine, despite installs within its core residential and light commercial (RLC) segment dropping in Q1 2021.
PV Tech Premium
April 30, 2021
Elon Musk pitched a new vision for Tesla’s home solar-storage product this week, labelling it a “profound” alternative to the status quo. Liam Stoker analyses Tesla’s newly-described offering, the integration of Tesla’s solar and storage into a single product and explores benefits that may have been overlooked.
March 31, 2021
Danish renewables developer European Energy is expanding its operations into the US market, announcing plans for a 300MW solar project in Texas.
PV Tech Premium
March 29, 2021
In the first of a series of exclusive editorial columns for PV Tech Premium subscribers, editor in chief Liam Stoker urges energy regulators around the world to nurture home solar installations, or pay the price with delayed climate action
March 29, 2021
Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker signed a state climate bill on Friday that creates benchmarks for the adoption of solar power technologies.
March 23, 2021
Lightsource bp has been selected to build, own and operate seven solar arrays in Pennsylvania that will provide nearly half of the state government’s electricity.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
May 11, 2021
Upcoming Webinars
May 26, 2021
Session 1 - 7:00 AM (BST) | Session 2 - 5:00 PM (BST)
Solar Media Events
June 15, 2021
Solar Media Events
July 6, 2021