Part 4, State Solar Series: Maine’s Controversial Net Metering Proposal

Part 4, State Solar Series: Maine’s Controversial Net Metering Proposal

Maine may seem like an unfriendly place for a green builder, at first glance, but if you dive deeper into the state’s energy market, the outlook may surprise you.

TecHome Builder’s new solar series is heading across the country to provide you with a better grasp on the current solar market, including legislation and advice that could impact your standard.

Part four of our solar series focuses on Maine. We hear from a green architect and builder as well as a state official involved in a proposal to revise, replace and improve net metering.

Lawmakers submitted the proposal to the state legislature with the goal of switching the traditional net metering system over to a market-based approach. This controversial idea hasn’t been approved yet, but it has elicited a strong response from both sides.

“This is very bad news for Maine in general. Done well, net metering can benefit everyone,” says Chris Briley of Briburn, an architecture firm with a focus on sustainability. 

Patrick Woodcock, Maine’s energy director disagrees saying, “You can create a more market-based system that accurately reflects the true value of distribution and generation.”

Maine’s Solar Outlook and Advice for Builders

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ME Energy Market

Maine has a unique energy market with higher than average electrical costs.
Maine has a unique energy market with higher than average electrical costs.

Maine’s Energy Market

Maine has a complicated energy market, which is why solar is becoming a viable option.

High electricity costs aren’t they problem. They are balanced through reliance on non-electrical heating sources such as wood. “We have some of the lowest kWh expenditures in the country. That’s kind of a function of the low use of electric heat and air conditioning,” says Woodcock, who adds that monthly electricity bills are fairly low—around $80.

It’s the winter months that have truly opened homebuyers’/homeowners’ minds to solar. Woodcock says he has noticed a surge in solar adoption among new construction over the past two years.

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ME Energy Market

About The Author

Michael Black is a staff writer and content coordinator at TecHome Builder. He has a particular interest in new solar developments and smart energy systems and is always looking for the next smart home trend to cover. As the youngest member of the TecHome team, Michael brings a passion that keeps the team energized. He also is instrumental in leading our social media efforts.

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1 Comment

  1. Ross Heitkamp

    Doesn’t sound like Briley understands the Time Of Use aspect. In California, our net metering is done with Time of Use (TOU) and our peak hours are during typically between 12-7pm which is also a good time for solar production. The kWhs produced during peak time can earn 3x the amount they cost during night hours and make solar pay for itself faster.

    Perhaps along with changing to TOU metering highlighted in this article they are also making other changes that Briley opposes, but those are not disclosed in this article.

    Reply

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