- The Maine Public Utilities Commission has proposed phasing out retail rate net metering over the next decade and a half, grandfathering existing systems for that full stretch and new installations for just 10 years, the Portland Press Herald reports.
- The Portland Press Herald reports the rulemaking is a starting point for a broad discussion on the state's solar market, but state lawmakers also plans to reintroduce the a comprehensive solar legislation, which could complicate the discussion.
- Over the summer, Gov. Paul LePage of Maine (R) proposed an end to the state's solar net metering program, including a shorter, three-year grandfathering period.
The debate over solar policy in Maine was already heating up, but the PUC's proposed rulemaking is not likely to simplify the matter. Because the move comes alongside broader discussions happening in the state's legislature, it is unclear how a PUC net metering decision would dovetail with possible legislation.
Rep. Sara Gideon issued a statement criticizing the PUC's proposal. “Maine needs a comprehensive solar policy," the Press Herald reported. "Unfortunately, the PUC’s narrow focus on a single part of the broader solar policy doesn’t help our state’s ability to open new markets that create jobs and lower costs for homeowners, businesses and communities."
A decision is expected by the end of the year, following a comment period and public hearing.
In May the legislature failed to override LePage’s veto of a bill that would have replaced retail rate net metering for rooftop solar customers with a market-based incentive program.
LePage says wants to move the state's solar market towards a more real-time valuation, but his proposal drew quick criticism from the solar power industry. Advocates argue the proposal would add to the uncertainty about net metering’s future in the state, while failing to account for solar benefits such as reducing energy demand at peak times.