Maine PUC study values solar at 33 cents/KWh, more than double the price of utility power
- The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has released a study valuing solar power produced in the state at 33 cents per KWh — or more than twice what most residents pay for traditional power, the Portland Press Herald reports.
- The report finds that the societal benefits, which include environmental benefits and the avoided cost of carbon, are worth about 9 cents per KWh alone.
- Environmental activists hailed the study as proof that solar power is underutilized in the state, but said the results actually undervalue solar power by failing to account for any reduced costs to the distribution grid.
Is rooftop solar in Maine worth 33 cents per KWh? While that's significantly more than the 15 cents per KWh that most residents pay, the Portland Press Herald points out that it is a very complex calculation because avoided costs make up more than half of solar's value.
Avoided market costs are worth about 9 cents per KWh, while social and environmental benefits are worth about the same. The report said avoided market costs represent the benefits and costs associated with capital and operating expenses normally recovered from ratepayers, such as wholesale energy purchases and capacity.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine hailed the study as evidence the state must do more at the policy level to encourage solar.
The group said that while solar power is valued at 33 cents, customers who put solar panels on their roofs only receive a credit on their bill worth about 13 cents/KWh. The group also said the study undervalued solar power by failing to account for reduced costs of the distribution grid.
"Utility data has shown that this benefit is tangible, but the value has been disputed. When a value is ultimately included for this, it would increase the benefit of solar further," Natural Resources Council of Maine said in a statement.
- Portland Press Herald The value of power: Solar goes sky-high in Maine
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