Letter: Solar energy proponents: CMP is not an ally

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Kudos for the recent story about Cumberland’s plan to put solar panels on the new firehouse and the local landfill. By acting quickly the town can look forward to getting full credit for the excess kilowatt hours which will be returned to the grid, a.k.a. net metering.

However the end of the story notes that “state regulators are due April 30 to reduce the net metering benefit for excess generation by 10 percent.” Homeowners planning to install rooftop solar should be aware of Central Maine Power Co.’s expensive lobbying in Augusta to try to further reduce this rate of reimbursement over time, thus further reducing the tax incentive for solar installation. In Nevada, radical reduction in net-metering rates virtually eliminated new solar applications.

Despite the “green” claims of its website, the” green” this privately owned monopoly collects from its Maine customers goes primarily into dividends it can give to its shareholders, not into expanding the renewable components of its “energy portfolio.”

Recent protests targeting CMP’s anti-environmental actions are directly related to CMP lobbyists’ successful attempts last year to narrowly defeat a popular solar bill with assistance from the governor; CMP is again working to ratchet down net metering, citing false economic arguments about unfair costs in order to pit non-solar customers against those who are generating their own renewable energy.

Call or write to urge CMP to come out in support of LD 1444, this year’s solar bill, which would preserve net metering.

Dr. James H. Maier