AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The deadline for Maine electric customers to take advantage of expiring solar incentives has been moved up.

Solar panels installed by March 16 will be eligible under old "net metering" policies that provide homeowners with credits on their electricity bills for any excess solar energy produced. After that, credits for new systems will be gradually reduced.

The new rule was originally set to take effect Jan. 1, but utilities regulators delayed it until April 30 to work out technical issues. Republican Gov. Paul LePage had asked the regulatory commission to scrap the delay.

The Portland Press Herald reports the regulators said Wednesday that enough progress had been made to close the grace period early.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine says the move will destroy jobs in the solar industry.

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Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com