Maine Republicans railed against solar company subsidies Tuesday, saying a rate increase scheduled to kick in July 1 will hurt homeowners and businesses.

For Central Maine Power customers, rates to support the subsidies are expected to increase 12% per month and for Versant Power customers, the increase is expected to be about 6% per month, according to the Public Utilities Commission.

For an average CMP residential customer, that translates to about $15 more per month and for Versant, it’s about $7.40 per month.

Those costs are related to programs designed to help the state transition to renewable power, the PUC said in a statement.

Republicans say the programs are unnecessary and costly.

“Your money is leaving your pocketbooks and going to the utility that then has to pay the solar developers,” said Senate Minority Leader Trey Stewart (R-Presque Isle). “This is not all that complicated. It is horrendous that it’s the law in Maine.”

Supporters of the system, known as net energy billing, say it’s an important way to increase solar power use in Maine.

“Solar power helps Maine meet its climate and clean energy goals and lessen the risks of dangerous climate impacts,” Jack Shapiro, climate and clean energy director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said during testimony on a Republican bill to end the program.

He said in general, the state’s solar policies have been successful, increasing the availability of solar 700% since 2018.

Yet several Republicans say the current subsidies are no longer necessary and that the current increase set to take effect July 1 will hit businesses especially hard.

During a State House news conference, the GOP passed out copies of Versant Power notices sent to some businesses that they say show significant cost increases.

Although they redacted the business names from the bills, they described the businesses as farms, restaurants, a forest products industry and a furniture store.

One notice from Versant dated May 1, 2024, alerts the business that their costs to support renewable power generation will go from just under $200 per year to $3,432 per year.

Another showed a much smaller increase, with the bill increasing from $3,626 per year for the program to $4,341.

Sen. James Libby (R-Standish) said in his rural district, dozens of solar farms have popped up in recent years. He said he sees little benefit to continuing the incentive program.

“It’s going to cause some businesses to get a huge bill that they are not anticipating that hasn’t been budgeted for,” he said.