© 2023 Maine Public | Registered 501(c)(3) EIN: 22-3171529
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Regulators Developing Legislation for Solar Net Metering

AUGUSTA, Maine — State regulators are sending lawmakers the results of a multiparty effort to shape the future of residential solar power in Maine.

A decades-old practice called net metering, which pays residential solar power producers retail rates for energy they send onto the grid, is up for review by the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Stakeholders are considering experimenting with new methods to compensate solar producers for the energy they put on the grid, while also compensating utilities for providing transmission and billing services.

One question is whether to try a pilot project while keeping current rules in place, or to move right into an an entirely new regime, with benchmarks for continued solar growth in Maine.

“How do you move from something that the solar industry in Maine feels that they can rely on to build solar, to something that they think has a good chance of building it but that they’re not certain about,” says Maine Public Advocate Tim Schneider, “is the real challenge.”

The parties are trying to put together a bill to put before the Legislature.

U.S. Sen. Angus King, meanwhile, is pushing federal legislation that would require states to assess the benefits of residential-scale solar power.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.