- Maine lawmakers failed to override Gov. Paul LePage's (R) veto of a solar bill aimed at boosting rooftop solar growth, the Portland Press Herald reports.
- The state Senate overrode the veto in a vote of 28-6, but the 88-48 margin in the House was three votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto.
- This is the second time in two years Maine lawmakers failed to override a veto from Gov. LePage of a bill designed to boost rooftop solar.
Maine lawmakers once again failed to garner the two-thirds majority in both legislative houses needed to override a veto from Gov. LePage on a bipartisan measure designed to boost rooftop solar.
The latest solar bill, LD 1504, aimed to roll back a decision by the state's utility regulators to phase down the net metering compensation, and called for a cost-benefit analysis of the policy. In vetoing the bill, Gov. LePage said that net metering subsidizes the cost of solar panels "at the expense of the elderly and poor who can least afford it.”
A prior bill was a more comprehensive overhaul of Maine's solar policies. The measure would have required regulated utilities to purchase and aggregate rooftop solar generation from private owners as well as utility scale developers and bid it back into the New England ISO, the region's wholesale power market. If passed, it would have been the one of the first wholesale aggregations of small-scale solar generation.
But it also failed to clear the two-thirds majority in the legislature necessary to override LePage's veto, leaving it to the Public Utilities Commission to compose a new tariff. The PUC passed a new net metering tariff that would slowly reduce new customer rates each year, while grandfathering in existing customers for 15 years.
In response, lawmakers crafted a bill aimed at rolling back the decision. LD 1504 would have trimmed net metering credits to 90% for customers applying through the end of 2018, and then to 80%.
Solar advocates have condemned both vetoes by LePage, saying the governor was on a crusade against solar energy. Utility interests, while on board for the bill last year, did not support LD 1504, according to the Portland Press Herald.