I support Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of the poor solar power legislation. Maine recently announced it has risen to 21st among states when it comes to solar capacity per capita (watts/person). Nevada is No. 1 at 429 watts/person; Hawaii is No.2 at 394; and California is No. 3 at 338. What happens in Las Vegas is news here.

Las Vegas listened to lobbyists and solar panel industry experts. They raised electric rates to subsidize and fund solar panels and legislated attractive net metering programs to encourage development. In California and Hawaii, customers pay up to 40 cents per kWh to encourage solar energy.

There are a lot of unhappy customers in Nevada now. Upon realizing solar customers didn’t pay to maintain the power grid and everyone else pays for the lucrative subsidies to the solar users, Nevada officials cancelled the program.

Las Vegas customer Dale Collier exclaimed, “I thought this was (one of) the smartest things I ever did; now I think it might be one of the stupidest.” Once the incentives are phased out, he figures having solar panels will cost him money. Keep in mind that Las Vegas averages 294 sunny days annually (Portland, Maine — 200). Las Vegas is located in the dessert with little snow and rain.

Presently, Mainers pay about 13.6 cents per kilowatt-hour. That includes a conservation subsidy of $1.45 per thousand kWh to support solar power. To be competitive, Maine needs lower, not higher, electric rates.

Michael Brakey, New Gloucester


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