Letter: Solar energy promises good jobs, more choices

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LD 1373, “An Act to Protect and Expand Access to Solar Power in Maine,” submitted by Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, has a long list of Republican and Democratic co-sponsors. It’s refreshing to see legislators coming together on a bill that has so much job creation potential.

If passed, it will create hundreds of good-paying jobs in a technology of the future, make it possible for many low- and moderate-income Mainers and small businesses to become more energy independent, and will establish clear net metering requirements. The uncertainty around net metering that’s negatively affecting solar’s expansion in Maine will disappear.

The bill also eliminates barriers to community solar projects in Maine, allowing large numbers to benefit from a community solar project.

Why wouldn’t we want to have more choice around how we heat our homes or more freedom from high energy costs? A less-centralized power system is also less vulnerable to systemic shocks, such as severe weather or terrorism. There are many good reasons beyond the concerns about climate change to be supportive of a robust solar industry in Maine. Passage of LD 1373 can help us get there.

Gov. Paul LePage will most likely veto the bill, falsely citing increased costs to all ratepayers, but he’s simply doing the bidding of fossil fuel companies. The Public Utilities Commission issued a study in 2015 that documented the benefits to all ratepayers from increased solar capacity.

Please encourage your legislators to support LD 1373. Let’s create good jobs and more choices for Mainers.

Mary Ann Larson