I was disappointed Rep. Mary Anne Kinney, R-Knox, and other Republican state representativess did not vote to override Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of last year’s solar bill. I hope they will see more clearly this year the opportunities expanding solar offers their constituents, and vote yes for Rep. Seth Berry’s “An Act to Protect and Expand Access to Solar Power in Maine.”
It’s time to solarize Maine. The state enjoys 30 percent more sunshine than Germany, a world leader in solar power generation, and yet we have one of the most anti-solar policies in the nation. This is keeping energy prices unnecessarily high, making it costlier to do business here.
Maine farmers, like Kinney’s family, should understand the pinch of high electricity costs all too well. From refrigeration to cultivation to processing, a farm’s energy needs are vast.
Enacting sensible solar policy would empower farmers to capitalize on the cost savings associated with generating their own power, while making them less vulnerable to volatile electricity rates currently on the rise due to expensive transmission line expansion. It would also open up opportunities to use fallow land for community solar farms. It just makes economic sense.
In the meantime, many of the state’s farmers have had to hit pause on embracing solar. Ongoing legislative uncertainty and the outrageous attack on net metering by Maine’s Public Utilities Commission serve as strong disincentives and barriers to expansion.
We have Maine’s largest solar energy company, Revision Energy, right in our backyard in Liberty. The Legislature should do all they can to support those clean energy jobs and to create more of them.
Let’s not fail to act again this year. We need to signal to Mainers that our legislators are comfortable with keeping the economic benefits connected to solar expansion out of reach.