A committee co-chaired by Maine Rep. Seth Berry recently proposed a community solar moratorium. The decision was made in response to new incentives that were created by a development increase in the wake of legislation introduced in 2019. Representatives and stakeholders hope that the brief halt on future projects will allow them time to understand lessons learned from the boom.
According to Berry, the community solar moratorium is not a bad thing. It shows that, shortly after community solar was introduced to Maine, developers were quick to jump on the renewable resource. The drastic increase in projects has been beneficial to homeowners and small businesses, who receive low-cost energy by subscribing to the facilities. Berry added that the increase in development also brought new jobs to the region.
The community solar moratorium followed a report submitted by state regulators that pointed out a potential of tens of millions of dollars in electricity bills being added yearly. Advocates for community solar criticized the report and requested their own to better highlight the perks of community solar and solar energy in general.
The proposed community solar moratorium would not affect residential rooftop panels and would allow large projects that had submitted applications for the solar credits before 2021. Berry feels that the moratorium should remain in effect until June, giving the committee plenty of time to review the facts of solar energy generation and the bill credits that accompany community solar.
Should committee members see fit, they have the power to vote against the bill in April. Should the vote occur, it’s expected to cause a resurgence of communications regarding options on how community solar developments and the bill credits should be paid.
Solar advocates would like the community solar moratorium to end quickly so the facilities can come online quicker and start providing benefits to local communities and the environment.