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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Community Based Renewable Energy Production Incentive (Pilot Program)   

Last DSIRE Review: 07/16/2013
Program Overview:
State: Maine
Incentive Type: Performance-Based Incentive
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Fuel Cells, Anaerobic Digestion, Tidal Energy, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Tribal Government, Institutional
Amount:Choice of either 1.5 REC credit multiplier; or
Small projects (1 MW DC or less): $0.10/kWh for solar, wind, hydro projects; to be determined on a case by case basis for other eligible renewable energy projects.
Large projects (over 1 MW DC): Depends on the result of the bid process.
Maximum Incentive:$0.10/kWh or the cost of the project, whichever is lower.
Terms:Long-term contract (up to 20 years) for energy, capacity resources, and/or renewable energy credits
Eligible System Size:up to 10 MW DC
Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits:Community-based generator
Start Date:02/13/2010
Expiration Date:12/31/2015
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
Expiration Date:
35-A M.R.S. ยง3601 et seq.
Authority 2:
Date Effective:
Expiration Date:
CMR 65-407-325

In June 2009, Maine established the Community-based Renewable Energy Pilot Program. As the name suggests, this program is intended to encourage the development of locally owned, in-state renewable energy resources.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) finalized the rules in February 2010. Legislation mandates that up to 50 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity (DC) will be permitted under the program, and individual participants may not exceed 10 MW. Of the 50 MW cap, 10 MW must be reserved specifically for small program participants (with generating capacity less than 100 kW) or for participants located in a service territory of a cooperative transmission and distribution utility.

To be eligible for incentives, a generating facility must be 51% locally owned, use renewable energy resources (solar, wind, hydro, certain biomass, fuel cells, and tidal), be no larger than 10 MW in generating capacity, and be located in the State. Qualifying local owners include individuals, state and local government entities, federally recognized Indian tribes, nonprofit corporations organized under laws of the state, and business entities organized in the state with 51% local ownership. Furthermore, a community-based renewable energy project 100 kilowatts (kW) or greater must provide documentation of support from the municipality or tribe (where applicable) in which the project will be located. All projects must be grid-connected and put into service after September 1, 2009. Community-based renewable energy projects petition the PUC for certification and subsequent participation on the pilot program.

Program participants will have a choice of one of two following incentive options:

Long-term contracts
The PUC may require investor-owned utilities to enter into long-term contracts for energy, capacity resources, or renewable energy credits (RECs) produced by the community-based project (participation by cooperative utilities is voluntary). The contract term may not exceed 20 years. The PUC will conduct long-term contract solicitations for "large generators" (1 MW or greater). For these generators, the average price within each contract year may not exceed $0.10/kWh and it may not exceed the cost of the project plus a reasonable rate of return on investment. The contract price for "small" solar, wind, and hydro generators (less than 1 MW) will be $0.10/kWh. These small generators will contact their utility directly and present their community-based certification as well as the preferred contract terms. The utility will provide a standard contract (developed by the PUC, see Docket No. 2010-118 from March 2011) to the developer, and then submit a copy to the PUC.

Renewable energy credit multiplier
The value of a community-based generated renewable energy credit (REC) is 150% of the amount of the electricity. If the program participant chooses this incentive, the multiplier must be accounted for when the RECs are used to satisfy Maine's Renewables Energy Portfolio Standard.

The Maine PUC issued its Report on Community-Based Renewable Energy Pilot Program evaluation of the program to the legislature in January 2011.

As of December 2012, six projects totally over 24 MW have been approved for this program (four wind projects, one anaerobic digester, and one solar photovoltaic).

  Mitchell Tannenbaum
Maine Public Utilities Commission
#18 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Phone: (207) 287-3831
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.