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|
|Who enforces consumer protections?||Public Utilities Commission (800)452-4699||
Attorney General (800)436-2131
Public Utilities Commission (800)452-4699
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?
- When will I receive my specific disclosure form?
- Do not sign a blank disclosure form.
- Am I getting $ or kWh credit on my monthly electricity bill?
- When will the project come online? When will I start to receive credits?
- 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?
- Will my HEAP and/or LIAP benefits apply to the solar bill?
- How does the subscription amount compare to my annual electricity usage?
Download a copy of this information in our one-page handout (PDF).