AUGUSTA — State utility regulators are changing Maine’s solar energy rules despite pushback from solar groups.

Owners of solar energy grids get credits on their energy bill for the energy they send back to the system. But critics, including GOP Gov. Paul LePage, say the current system means electricity customers are unfairly subsidizing the solar industry.

The LePage-appointed Maine Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday approved rules that would slowly shift more costs onto owners of rooftop solar panels as the cost of solar technology drops. Existing customers would be grandfathered under the current rules for 15 years.

The rules wouldn’t be effective until 2018, giving time for legislators to come up with their own framework.

Solar companies and pro-clean energy groups have wanted utility regulators to leave any changes up to legislators.

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