Solar panels are installed in Bangor, Aug. 22, 2017. Credit: Gabor Degre

The Maine Public Utilities Commission ruled this week that Central Maine Power cannot arbitrarily limit the amount of electricity smaller commercial power plants can put on its transmission system.

The finding came at the request of Dirigo Solar, an electricity generation company that has a contract to provide enough solar power for 10,000 homes in Maine from scattered locations.

Nicholas Mazuroski, a partner in Dirigo Solar, said CMP limited the amount of electricity it would allow Dirigo to run through a particular substation to only 75 percent of what the station could actually handle. That hampered the development of a Dirigo solar plant planned nearby, he said, and raised questions about others to come.

“To kind of arbitrarily set a cap — problematic for a lot of reasons. Totally understand their reasons in wanting to preserve it for other generators, but the current law is first come, first serve,” he said.

CMP argued that by holding back some capacity, it was carrying out state law that encourages diversifying Maine’s generation resources. But the utilities commission ruled that the cap was not, in fact, justified by statute.

A CMP spokeswoman said the company was disappointed in the decision, but will not appeal. With the new ruling, Dirigo Solar said it can start putting bulk electricity online in Maine by the end of next year.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.