The state’s Energy Utilities and Technology Committee will conduct a hearing on LD 1373 — An Act to Protect and Expand Access to Solar Power in Maine — at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 4. I am glad to know my representative, Jess Fay, supports that bill.

Without the passage of that bill, the solar industry in Maine will be imperiled. The PUC has changed rules beginning Jan. 1, 2018. The new net metering rules as of 2018 planned by the PUC have some of the most extreme anti-solar components in the nation.

The taxpayers of Maine have shelled out $250 million to prop up the biomass industry using wood waste to generate electricity. If taxpayers are willing to dramatically subsidize the biomass industry, why not establish a small solar rebate program that phases out over a period of several years and is targeted to help small businesses and low and moderate income Mainers?

LD 1373 does that.

Since 2014, solar alone has created more jobs than oil and gas pipeline construction and crude petroleum and natural gas production combined, according to Forbes Magazine (Feb. 22).

Maine is currently last in New England in solar jobs per capita. Maine is 35th in the nation, while Vermont is third, Massachusetts is second, Rhode Island is 11th and Connecticut 18th in the country for solar jobs per capita.

Maine has a great opportunity for good jobs, while also increasing energy independence.

Jane Pentheny, Poland

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