A new law to support the development of solar energy in Maine goes into effect on Friday. This law will support the creation of clean, affordable energy at a time when the cost of energy is increasingly difficult for many families.

Our state is the most petroleum-dependent in the country, spending $5 billion a year importing fossil fuels. Working Mainers know the burden of energy costs firsthand.

Alternative energy sources can help relieve some of this burden. A 2010 study by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance found that 24 percent of Maine’s electricity could be provided by rooftop solar panels alone. The new law, which we cosponsored, directs the Maine Public Utilities Commission to determine the value of current solar energy generation, and directs state agencies to examine how to increase production within existing programs and resources.

Encouraging the development of smaller-scale renewable energy projects throughout the state will spread economic benefits widely while generating renewable energy. Generating solar power locally will strengthen our economy, create jobs and support Maine’s small businesses while creating affordable clean energy.

Start-up costs associated with solar electric systems are at historic lows, making now the time to invest in a way that makes sense for our state. This new law combines low-cost, common-sense policies to help spur the development of solar energy in Maine, for Maine.

Rep. Ann Dorney

D-Norridgewock

Rep. Gay Grant

D-Gardiner

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