In 2019, the Maine legislature passed several bills to encourage renewable energy developers, particularly solar power developers, to build projects in Maine.
The legislation included the following incentives:
- Net Energy Billing – Customers who choose to receive energy from solar farms can receive credits on their bills for the energy provided by the solar farm to the grid. See 35-A M.R.S. §§ 3209-A and 3209-B.
- Property Tax Treatment – Qualifying solar and wind energy equipment is exempt from real estate and personal property taxes. See 36 M.R.S. §§ 655(1)(U) and 656(1)(K).
- Distributed Generation Procurement – the Maine Public Utility Commission (PUC) will accept bids from renewable energy projects over the next four years to provide a total of 375 MW of power to Maine customers through the existing distribution lines by July 2024. See 35-A M.R.S. §§ 3481 et seq.
As a result of this legislation, many Maine landowners have been approached by developers seeking to use portions of their land for their projects. In April 2020, the Maine PUC initiated the first of five rounds of bids for the supply of renewable energy to meet the 2024 goals.
Over the next four years, Maine will likely see the renewable energy sector growth, particularly in the field of solar energy production. In case you were wondering, Maine does actually get enough sun exposure, even though it doesn’t feel like it in January!