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Conservation Group To File New Complaint Over Maine's Solar Rules

Maine Public

The head of the Conservation Law Foundation in Maine says the Maine Supreme Court's decision not to take up a case involving a new solar rule could affect home solar use in the state.

The Supreme Court justices dismissed the case Thursday, saying that the Superior Court has "jurisdiction over appeals from administrative rulemaking proceedings," and that the case must originate there.

The case goes back to March, when the Maine Public Utilities' Commission instituted a rule that will decrease, over time, the credit generated by home solar users. 

The Conservation Law Foundation's Sean Mahoney says under the new rule people with home solar panels are charged for the transmission of energy they generate.

"So that is as if you were being charged because you decided not to use your dryer," Mahoney says. "You're going to dry your clothes on the clothesline, but your still going to be paying as if you're using your dryer - at least for the transmission costs."

Mahoney says it will thus cost people more to run solar at home. And he says that the new rule will encourage solar companies such as Revision Energy - which has grown from 3 to 150 employees with skilled labor and a young workforce -  to look to other states.

"What this rule does is it says to Revision Energy, 'We're really not going to be a growth state in the state of Maine so you should go look at New Hampshire and Massachusettes,' " he says. "It is just backwards."

Mahoney says the group will will file a new complaint in Superior Court, a battle he says that could continue for up to two years.