Community-Based Renewable Energy Production Incentive (Pilot Program)

May 25, 2017


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 (those with generating capacity less than 100 kW) or for participants located in the service territory of a cooperative transmission and distribution utility.

To be eligible for incentives, a generating facility must be at least 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-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 at least 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 (if 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 in 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 certificates (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 the 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.

After December 31, 2015, the PUC may not issue an order directing a utility to enter into a long-term contract under this program. All projects selected for a long-term contract must become operational and begin generating electricity by December 31, 2018.

Renewable Energy Credit Multiplier

The value of a community-based 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 Renewable Portfolio Standard. The total net generating capacity of program participants receiving the credit multiplier incentive may not exceed 10 MW.

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 June 2015, 15 projects (plus one expansion to one of these 15 projects) totaling over 55 MW have been approved for this program (six wind projects, four anaerobic digester/biogas, three solar photovoltaic, one biomass, and one hydroelectric).

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: State
Category: Financial Incentive
State: Maine
Incentive Type: Performance-Based Incentive
Web Site:
Administrator: Maine Public Utilities Commission
Start Date: 02/13/2010
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Geothermal Electric
  • Solar Thermal Electric
  • Solar Photovoltaics
  • Wind (All)
  • Biomass
  • Hydroelectric
  • Fuel Cells using Non-Renewable Fuels
  • Landfill Gas
  • Tidal
  • Wind (Small)
  • Anaerobic Digestion
  • Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
Incentive 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 (>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: Maximum system size of 10 MW DC
Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits: Community-based generator


This program has 1 incentives
Technologies: Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Photovoltaics, Wind (All), Hydroelectric, Wind (Small)
Sectors: Commercial, Local Government, Nonprofit, Residential, Schools, State Government, Tribal Government, Institutional
Parameters: The system has a minimum of 10.00 MW, The incentive is 0.10 $/kWh (20 years)


Name: 35-A M.R.S. §3601 et seq.
Date Enacted: 06/09/2009
Effective Date: 09/01/2009
Expiration Date: 12/31/2015
Name: CMR 65-407-325
Effective Date: 02/13/2010
Expiration Date: 12/31/2015


Name: General Contact
Organization: Maine Public Utilities Commission
Phone: (180) 045-2469

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.