By John Boling
IIBEC submitted testimony to a Maine legislative panel as part of the panel’s April 4 discussion of solar-ready mandates for future commercial buildings, ensuring that building enclosure consultants’ interests were made known to the panel.
The Maine Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology held a hearing to discuss proposed legislation (L.D. 1232, H.P. 780) that would mandate that 40% of a new commercial building’s roof be solar ready. IIBEC does not take a position on rooftop solar-energy generation, but in written testimony submitted to the panel, IIBEC Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Pallasch stated, “IIBEC respectfully requests that you oppose this legislation in its current form and instead allow the design professional, in consultation with the building owner, to decide if solar panels are appropriate for including in a new building’s roof design.”
IIBEC’s also contended that the legislation, depending on exactly what was mandated, could increase the risk for owners, building personnel, and first responders, and that it likely would increase structural costs. IIBEC concluded with an appeal to follow the lead of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which included incentives, not mandates, for solar-power generation.
The hearing also revealed confusion over what “solar ready” means in general, and what it means for buildings. Each of IIBEC’s points were raised by legislators and other witnesses in their testimony. After the governor’s office testified about its concerns with the bill it became clear that the bill would need significant changes before the committee would move forward with it.
IIBEC will be following up with committee members to reiterate our concerns and to offer guidance.