I am writing about the importance of proposed legislation LD 1504: Solar Power for Farms and Businesses. LD 1504 offers an opportunity for businesses, towns and farms to build solar power.

LD 1504 will counter the January PUC rule that will seriously discourage new solar development in Maine, will bring about a large number of layoffs in solar jobs, and will cause many solar installers to leave the state. The PUC rule will also cost ratepayers about $2 million in a new expensive billing system and equipment. The only way to keep the PUC rule from going into effect is through the Legislature passing LD 1504, which comes up for a vote soon.

In New England, Maine is the farthest behind in solar power because of policies that are solar-unfriendly. Maine has one-third the number of solar energy jobs than Vermont has, yet Vermont has half Maine’s population.

Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed previous solar bills, calling them a subsidy. LD 1504 is not a subsidy in any way. It puts a halt to the solar-hostile PUC rule, protects residents from a new fee that everyone will have to pay and allows net metering to temporarily continue until a significant analysis of net metering can take place.

LD 1504 will keep the solar industry in Maine, create jobs and help build a clean and renewable energy future. I sincerely hope legislators stand up to the governor’s pressure and vote to pass LD 1054.

Sukie Rice, Durham

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