Condo Media - June 2020 - 52

The Region

MAINE

Solar Energy

A New Dawn for Maine Condominiums
[by Jack Carr, P.E., RS, LEED-AP]

There is some good solar power
news for Maine's condominium and
HOA communities. We have spoken in
past articles of the unfortunate political
restraints on the development of renewable energy sources in Maine by the prior
Governor Paul LaPage administration.
Things have changed with two new solar
power pieces of legislation (LD 91 -
"An act to Eliminate Gross Metering"
and LD 1711 - "An Act to Promote Solar
Energy Projects and Distributed Generation Resources in Maine"). With these
recent bills signed by Governor Janet
Mills, a new solar horizon will brighten
the growth of Maine's solar power opportunities for the condominium world.
One of the most cost effective methods
of generating solar power electrical
energy is by the use of large Community
Solar Farms (CSFs). These CSFs are
located either on-site or off-site with
large arrays of solar panels. The power
industry in Maine lobbied successfully to

52

CONDOMEDIA June 2020

restrain their growth by encouraging
a bill to be passed in 2016 to drop 'net
metering' for 'gross metering' to lower
the investment return potential making
solar arrays less favorable. LD 91 eliminated this encumbrance.
This bill was shortly followed by
LD 1711, removing the limit of only
10 meters per solar array and instead
placing limits on the size of the array
system with no limit on the number of
meters. This is a game changer. With no
restrictions on the number of subscribers
and the size of the solar system increasing
to 5 megawatts (MW), economies of scale
can be reached, making it economically
feasible for condominiums and HOAs to
participate in a low-cost solar future.
COMMUNITY SOLAR
FARM OPTIONS
So how will this all work? There are optional paths a community can take to join
a CSF and thus a long and careful study

of which option is right for your community is the key to success. Also some basic
CSF facts should be well understood.
One of the benefits of a CSF is it can
be located elsewhere if the community
does not have suitable land exposed to
optimal sunlight. This opens the door to
land-restricted city condominiums or
suburban HOAs that do not want solar
arrays visible in their backyard.
The two options for a CSF are either:
(1) Direct Ownership or (2) Subscriber
Service. Keep in mind the actual electrical energy produced by the CSF does
not go directly to the subscribers, but
rather to Maine's electrical grid. It is the
economic benefits that are transferred
to the condominium unit owners,
whether through direct ownership
share allocation or subscriber electric
rate reductions. Currently LD 1711 allows only the direct ownership option.
Next year the subscriber service option
will be available.



Condo Media - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - June 2020

Contents
Condo Media - June 2020 - Cover1
Condo Media - June 2020 - Cover2
Condo Media - June 2020 - Contents
Condo Media - June 2020 - 2
Condo Media - June 2020 - 3
Condo Media - June 2020 - 4
Condo Media - June 2020 - 5
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Condo Media - June 2020 - Cover3
Condo Media - June 2020 - Cover4
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