CLF Ramps Up Fight to Support Maine Solar Power

Good solar policy is important for the success of clean energy.

Joins partners in taking issue to state’s highest court

August 15, 2017 (PORTLAND, ME) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), along with ReVision Energy, Industrial Energy Consumer Group, and Natural Resources Council of Maine, filed a brief today in its appeal at the Maine Supreme Court challenging the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) amended solar energy rule. The brief comes shortly after the Maine legislature failed to override a veto from Governor LePage on a bill that would have supported solar growth in the state.

“The new rule penalizes homeowners and businesses that generate solar energy, hampering our opportunities to increase energy independence, reduce electricity costs and support one of the fastest growing sectors in Maine’s economy,” said CLF Executive Vice President Sean Mahoney. “This LePage-appointed commission wants us to believe that charging Mainers for the energy we generate in our own homes is just and fair, but we’re not falling for it. If this rule remains on the books, it will undermine state policy and threaten an industry already providing hundreds of good jobs across our state.”

Pete Didisheim, Advocacy Director at Natural Resources Council of Maine, said, “We urge the court to strike down the PUC’s extreme, anti-solar rule on the grounds that it is illegal, it is an affront to Maine people seeking to increase their energy independence, and was developed through a patently flawed process. The rule includes a particularly offensive provision that enables Maine utilities to collect revenues from Mainers for the solar energy that they generate and use on-site. This is akin to allowing grocery stores to charge for the tomatoes grown in our gardens. This radical attack on solar power in Maine must not be allowed to stand.”

Fortunat Mueller, a founder of ReVision Energy, commented, “Mainers want clean energy. We all want to do our part to fight climate change. The PUC’s amendments to the net metering rule need to be fixed to empower the clean energy revolution – not hold it back.”

Andrew Landry, attorney for Industrial Energy Consumer Group, added, “The amendments interfere with the legitimate activities of customers on their own property and penalize them for pursuing options that promote clean energy. This is in clear violation of statute, as well as fundamental principles of fairness and individual rights.”

In today’s filing, CLF and partners contend that the PUC has imposed unlawful charges on energy generated and consumed behind the meter, exceeded its statutory authority, relied on unsubstantiated claims, and failed to provide an adequate economic assessment in developing its new net metering rule, among other things. A copy of the filing can be found here.

CLF experts are available for further comment. For more information about net metering, check out this video produced by CLF.