In 2019, the Maine Legislature passed legislation to encourage the development of solar and other small renewable energy projects in the State. As a result, Maine has programs available that provide opportunities for both residential and non-residential customers to participate in these projects, including one that allow customers to share the costs and benefits of small solar or other types of renewable energy, sometimes referred to as “Community” projects. Under this program, participating customers receive kilowatt-hour (kWh) credits on their electric utility bill that reduce the amount of the payment owed to the utility, to the standard offer service provider, or, if applicable, to the customer’s competitive electricity provider.
These programs do not purchase the renewable energy certificates (RECs) for the electricity. The generator is able to sell those separately.
What is the difference between a competitive electricity supplier and a community solar offering?
|Competitive Electricity Supply||Community Solar|
|What do I get from this company?||This is your electricity supply – shown on the last page of your electricity bill||Provides kWh credits on electricity bill. Applies credits only to kWh charges (not fixed or demand charges)|
|How do I pay my bill?||Typically paid through your monthly utility bill||Separate bill arrives 30-60 days after your monthly utility bill or paid through your monthly utility bill|
|Who enforces consumer protections?||Public Utilities Commission (800)452-4699||Attorney General (800)436-2131|
Is this community solar company legitimate?
Community solar companies must register with the Maine Public Utilities Commission. You can verify a company’s registration information here: https://apps.web.maine.gov/online/aeviewer/ME/9/list.html
Questions to ask the company to better understand the offer:
- Can you provide me with a copy of your disclosure form?
- Am I getting $ or kWh credit on my monthly electricity bill? (To get this answer, you may need to ask if the offer complies with the Public Utilities Commission’s Ch 312 or 313. The Office of the Public Advocate or the Public Utilities Commission can help you understand the response.)
- When will the project come online? When will I start to receive credits?
- Do I receive credit for a fixed amount or credit to match my monthly usage?
- How long is the contract term? *Some companies have no fixed contract and others have up to a 20-year commitment.
- Will this facility always generate enough to cover my usage?
- What happens if I move?
- Do I need to have a smart meter to participate?
Download a copy of this information in our one-page handout (PDF).
Community Solar and the OPA in the News
2020-12-14 - Maine Calling featuring Barry Hobbins, Public Advocate; Dan Burgess, Director of the Governor's Energy Office; and Fortunat Mueller, Founder of ReVision Energy