The Truth about Solar in Maine

Maine’s community solar program has come under attack recently by advocates of the natural gas industry and Maine’s utilities. Here are the facts behind some of their outrageous claims.

“Community solar is causing Maine electric bills to skyrocket”

This is FALSE. Despite great strides in the development of community solar in Maine, it still only accounts for a tiny fraction of our overall energy supply. The truth is, it has been the wild swings in the cost of natural gas over the last few years that have caused Maine electric bills to increase, NOT community solar.

“Community solar will increase Maine electric rates by $275 per year”

This is FALSE. Maine’s Office of the Public Advocate is trumpeting exagerated and unsubstantiated data from CMP and Versant, who both stand to make more money from higher costs to consumers. OPA is also completely ignoring the quantified electric system benefits, as well as the positive economic benefits of community solar in Maine, creating an incorrect picture of what the growth of community solar will mean to Maine ratepayers. The Governor’s Energy Office convened a working group of energy stakeholders, and this group released data showing their proposed structure for community solar means Maine reaps an astounding $2.77 return for every $1 invested in the program.

“Maine is subsidizing community solar”

This is FALSE. The state of Maine grants no subsidies for community solar. Maine’s utilities and Maine’s Public Advocate are mischaracterizing a loss in revenue for CMP and Versant, which they propose to recover through increase electric rates, as “subsidies” for the solar industry. This is completely incorrect. The fact is, the community solar program is providing clean, affordable renewable power to Mainers of all income levels, and helping us get off the fossil fuel roller coaster that has driven electric bills through the roof.