Maine proposes doubled interconnection fees for solar customers

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Interconnecting solar arrays to Central Maine Power’s (CMP) grid could become significantly more expensive if a proposed rule by the Maine’s Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) is codified into law.

The commission is proposing to raise interconnection nearly doubling the fees on each of its four levels of solar interconnections, raising flat feels from $50 to $100 on each of the first two levels, while doubling the per-kilowatt fees for the final three levels, according to the following schedule:

  • Level 1: from $50 to $100.
  • Level 2: From $50, plus $1 per kW of generating capacity to $100, plus $2 per kW of generating capacity.
  • Level 3: from $100, plus $1.50 per kW of generating capacity to $100, plus $3 per kW of generating capacity.
  • Level 4: from $100, plus $2 per kW of generating capacity to $100, plus $4 per kW of generating capacity.

Some state solar companies have registered objections to the plans, saying the fee hikes are likely to discourage individuals and companies from building small-scale solar projects.

The commission counters that the fees as raised are more in line with the recommendations of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) model rule, while CMP says the fees are more in line with the actual costs of interconnecting solar electric systems to the grid.

The commission will hold a public hearing on the rulemaking on December 12, with comments to the commission due on December 5, to allow commissioners to follow up with additional questions as necessary. Supplementary questions can be submitted to the commission by December 22.

No date has been set for the final approval of the rule.