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.