Under new leadership from Gov Janet Mills, and a legislature that supports a common-sense approach to clean energy, Maine’s solar policy is turning around after 8 years of being headed in the wrong direction.
Latest Update: March, 2019:
LD91, which overturns the LePage era “Gross” metering and stops punishing solar producers for making their own power, passes the Maine Senate unanimously and the Maine House with strong approval. Gov Mills is expected to sign the bill by the end of March, which means that gross metering will end in Maine soon.
Existing and potential solar customers in Maine have lots of questions, see the ReVision Energy Death to Gross Metering FAQ for answers to them. This FAQ will be updated as new information comes out.
Why Solar Matters to Maine:
- Economic development opportunities, especially in the more rural areas of the state.
- Jobs, jobs, jobs. The solar workforce will need many trained tradespeople to grows. Those jobs are well-paying and not-outsourceable.
- Cost savings for everyone. The myth keeps being spread that solar passes cost from rich people onto the poor. This is a lie. It is a lie created for the expressed purposes of protecting the interests of for-profit utility companies (who, bluntly, aren’t used to and don’t like competition).
- Energy independence for individuals and the community. Maine towns want solar to reduce long-term operating costs. Individual Mainers want solar to protect themselves from ever-increasing electricity costs. It is in our collective best interest for everyone to be able to self-generate their own power.
Maine remains LAST in New England in terms of installed solar and solar jobs. We can and should do better. Other states, with more solar installed, are saving large amounts of money. Just this past summer, New England’s installed solar fleet saved the region over $20 million of costs during a single heatwave
Here are some solar facts worth repeating:
- Solar panels have dropped in cost by 74% since 2003.
- Every 1 kilowatt (~4 panels) of solar added to the grid will provide roughly $4,000 in benefits to all Mainers over 25 years (per Value of Solar).
- Maine’s current solar fleet will save roughly $25,000,000 to all Maine ratepayers over 25 years.
- Maine has plenty of sunshine to make solar viable. Maine receives roughly the same amount of annual solar photovoltaic resource as Houston, Texas (cold weather help solar panels perform better).
And here are some of the common lies propagated by solar, which indicate the Legislator is regurgitating anti-solar talking points:
Solar hurts the poor / elderly / non-solar customers
UNTRUE. Per the Value of Solar study, solar actually saves ratepayers more money than customers receive in benefits. We absolutely agree the low and middle income Mainers should have access to solar. This would be possible if the state would allow the development of solar farms, so that the costs of large-scale solar could be split amongst many customers, and more affordable solar products
Only rich people have solar!
UNTRUE. Ask solar installers who they’re installing systems for. Most are middle-class Mainers who are looking to get control of their energy costs. Solar is especially attractive for people in or approaching retirement, and living on a fixed income (solar reduces their monthly expenses), and for younger families, who are able to finance solar with a loan and swap their electric bill for solar.
Maine isn’t sunny enough for solar!
UNTRUE. Consult NREL data that confirms Maine’s powerful solar resource (a full 33% stronger than Germany, world-leader in solar energy) — or ask any of the 10,000+ people with solar panel arrays in Maine.