We can all be proud of the diverse stakeholder group that has created a comprehensive solar policy for Maine. Over a period of six months representatives from environmental groups, town governments, utility companies, individual citizens, solar installers and the Public Advocate came together to advance the use of solar energy in Maine in a way that works for all parties. The new policy is designed to achieve a net reduction in electricity rates for all Maine consumers. The outcome may serve as a model for other states and municipalities. In this age of gridlock in government the work of this group should be applauded.
As a representative of the Maine Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network, we appreciate this demonstration of how the democratic process can work for the common good. Should LD 1649, the resulting solar bill, become law, we all win. Our environment is protected from additional burning of fossil fuels, we provide 100’s of good-paying jobs for young people eager to remain in Maine and all Mainers save on their electric bills, as solar replaces other higher cost fuels used during peak demand times. Air is cleaner, resulting in fewer respiratory diseases which lowers health care costs. Municipalities can now create large-scale solar installations to save on energy, and that may help keep property taxes in check.
Finally, switching to energy sources that don’t pollute, like the sun, is one way to protect the web of life that all of us depend upon.
Mary Ann Larson