Good news this week, in that Maine has officially paved the way for solar in the state, particularly for C&I and community solar. Two new bills (LD 1494 – RPS bill, and LD 1711 – Solar bill) passed the Senate and House last Tuesday calling for 400MW of solar to be developed in the state, and increasing the ability to do community solar projects. Previously, one could only have a community solar deal with 9 or less subscribers. Now, with the passage of LD 1711, that number is 200, and the net metering cap is 2MW (up from 600kW). LD 1494 increases the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 80 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.
This is in addition to the April 2 passage of LD 91, repealing the prior governor’s “gross metering” legislation which charged solar customers a delivery fee on power generated by their solar systems. This new bill further restored net metering so that people could be compensated for putting excess power onto the grid.
Maine has been lagging behind in solar because of the prior difficult legislation. It has 900MW of installed wind capacity, but only 55MW of solar so far. Together, these three acts of recent legislation open up Maine as a state for solar, and are expected to vastly increase C&I and community solar development.
There is at least one C&I solar company who has been pre-developing C&I projects in the state in the last few months in anticipation of this legislation being signed before the June 20 recess. Other C&I companies we have spoken with are planning to start working in the state very shortly.