Solar Industry News

Maine Solar Bill Passes Maine's House and Senate, Now Must Survive LePage Veto

Some good news for Maine solar supporters!

LD1504, the bill which will fix the PUC's terribly flawed solar rule, passed Maine's House and Senate with strong bipartisan majorities in the House (105-40) and Senate (29-6). LD1504 now goes to Gov LePage, who is expected to veto the bill.

LD1504 currently has enough votes to override LePage's veto, if the same quantity of Legislators vote on the override as they did to initially pass it. But the utilities' lobbyists are working hard on the other side to prevent customers from being able to invest in their own renewable generation systems.

Now is the time to cheer on the Legislators who voted YES and to express your disappointed with those who Voted NO, and ask them to reconsider their support in the override vote. LePage has ten days as of June 28, 2017 to veto the bill, and Maine legislators are expected to convene shortly thereafter.

The PUC rule is bad for solar, bad for consumers, bad for Maine. LD1504 isn't perfect, but it is a compromise bill that eliminates the most egregious parts of the PUC rule, saves rate payers money, and provides a modicum of regulatory predictability and stability for solar customers and the solar industry in Maine.

What's in LD1504?

LD1504 is a Republican sponsored and Republican amendment compromise bill that undoes the worst of the MPUC ruling on solar - significantly, it eliminates the much-loathed creation of a behind-the-meter tax on self-generated and consumed solar energy.

LD1504 would allow anyone who applies for a net metering application by EOY 2017 to get retail net metering as it exists today, with 15 years of grandfathering for existing customers. Starting in 2018, the T&D portion of a solar customer's exported energy would be reduced in value by 10%. In 2019, the T&D value would be decreased by 20%.

The ROI of solar still looks good for new solar customers under the proposed changes in LD1504, though we would still strongly prefer to see market-driven policy that uses accurate price signals to drive distribute energy deployment, rather than policy driven by political reality.

In our August newsletter expect to see a full breakdown of any coming solar policy changes in Maine.