An Act To Support Solar Energy Development in Maine
Sec. 1. 35-A MRSA c. 34-B is enacted to read:
THE MAINE SOLAR ENERGY ACT
§ 3471. Short title
This chapter may be known and cited as "the Maine Solar Energy Act."
§ 3472. Legislative findings
§ 3473. Specific measures to support solar energy
§ 3474. Determination of public policy; state solar energy generation goals
Sec. 2. Determination of the value of distributed solar energy generation.
1. Value of distributed solar energy generation. The Public Utilities Commission shall determine the value of distributed solar energy generation in the State. The commission shall develop a method for valuing distributed solar energy generation. The method developed by the commission must, at a minimum, account for the value of the energy, the value of its delivery, generation capacity, transmission capacity and transmission and distribution line losses and the value of the reduced environmental impacts of the energy. The commission may, based on known and measurable evidence of the cost or benefit of solar operation to a utility, incorporate other values into the method, including credit for locally manufactured or assembled energy systems or systems installed at high-value locations on the electric grid, or other factors. When developing the method, the commission shall consult stakeholders with experience and expertise in power systems, solar energy and electric utility ratemaking regarding the proposed method, underlying assumptions and preliminary data.
2. Method. In developing a method for valuing distributed solar energy generation pursuant to this section, the Public Utilities Commission shall ensure the method is consistent with published guidance from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
3. Report. By January 15, 2015, the Public Utilities Commission shall submit to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over energy matters a report on the determination of the value of distributed solar energy generation in the State.
This bill creates the Maine Solar Energy Act, which:
1. States specific legislative findings that it is in the public interest to encourage development of solar energy production in the State. This includes finding that solar energy development makes a significant contribution to the general welfare of the citizens of the State and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions;
2. Requires the Public Utilities Commission to take specific measures regarding solar energy, including monitoring development and market trends and determining the value of distributed solar energy generation;
3. Requires the State, including the Small Enterprise Growth Program, the Maine Technology Institute, the Maine Rural Development Authority, the Finance Authority of Maine and the Department of Economic and Community Development, to seek opportunities to promote solar energy development, generation and manufacturing within existing programs; and
4. Establishes state solar energy generation goals.