Mainers have a long tradition of self-reliance and determination. But the ability to heat and light homes and businesses with clean solar energy is being crushed by years of inaction on sensible solar policy.
Last year the Legislature, with overwhelming public support, passed a comprehensive solar policy, which Gov. Paul LePage vetoed. Now Maine’s Public Utilities Commission’s new rule could make sure that Maine’s solar industry stays in last place, behind New England neighbors, by eliminating net metering. The new rule keeps Maine dependent upon outside energy sources.
Maine’s anti-solar policy costs the state higher electricity rates, good jobs, clean air and water and sustainable energy production.
You might think the sun doesn’t shine in Maine. In fact, our roofs get 30 percent more sunshine than Germany — the solar over-achievers of the globe. That is a lot of sunshine that could be used to generate power.
Hebron Academy certainly knows the sun shines here. Its new rooftop solar array is the largest in the state and will provide about 25 percent of its electricity use.
But there won’t be an abundance of solar projects, from large scale projects such as Hebron Academy to solar panels on rooftops, without a shift in policy. That was almost achieved this past year. I am thankful to Rep. Lloyd Herrick for voting in favor of solar expansion. I hope he will do so again this year and support Rep. Seth Berry’s “An Act to Protect and Expand Access to Solar Power in Maine.”
Kerry Read, South Paris