The Solar Energy Association of Maine has formulated 10 priorities we think are most important to guide Maine’s collective efforts regarding solar energy. These imperatives reflect a powerful sense of urgency about global climate disruption, which calls for effective action at all levels.
1. Return stability to and enhance the distributed energy market by restoring net energy billing (NEB) to its original form (i.e., eliminate “gross metering” and the NEB step-down provisions); then support new regulatory policy that recognizes solar benefits to the grid and compensates solar electricity generators in a manner that returns value to all ratepayers.
2. Support new State legislation that removes regulatory barriers and provides greater access to solar energy for Maine residents, municipalities and businesses, using market mechanisms to facilitate solar electricity projects of all sizes, with annual goals for each project type.
3. Create a comprehensive energy plan for achieving energy independence for the State of Maine by an identified date, and that establishes clear, specific targets for the solar capacity required to meet this goal.
4. Create an executive branch Climate and Energy Team; evaluate all State of Maine activities (policies, programs, facilities construction, and operation) rigorously to consider their impact on climate and limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
5. Develop an enhanced business model for and provide Mainers with greater access to community-based, consumer-owned utilities, including techniques to facilitate the use of micro-grids by such entities.
6. Develop a modernized business model for Maine’s investor-owned utilities that provides greater choice for consumers, while establishing opportunities for the utilities to create shareholder value by supporting initiatives that further Maine’s clean energy goals.
7. Encourage the use of innovative rate designs and non-transmission alternatives such as battery storage, real-time pricing, and load management to increase the resiliency of Maine’s grid and avoid unnecessary investments in transmission infrastructure.
8. Educate the general public about the virtues and necessity of energy independence, solar energy, and consumer control of energy consumption.
9. Increase access to clean energy for rural and low-income households through legislative and regulatory policy.
10. Enact property tax measures that encourage solar energy, provide predictability for solar investors, and are fair to Maine’s municipalities and taxpayers.