When it comes to producing solar energy here in Maine, I often hear that solar panel technology is not advanced enough and that Maine simply does not receive enough sunlight. Both of these notions are false.

According to ReVision Energy, the Solar Energy Industries Association and other reputable sources, solar technology has advanced in leaps and bounds since the 1970s. A solar cell today can produce much more electricity than ever before, and panels last 30 to 40 years. Furthermore, Maine gets 33 percent more solar than Germany, the world leader in solar energy.

Solar is one of the renewable energy resources Maine has in abundance, and prices for solar panels have fallen 50 percent in the last five years. With solar panel prices at an all-time low, it’s economical for homes and businesses to harness solar to produce their own power and increase energy security. Maine, however, is falling far behind the region and the U.S. in both solar installations and job creation because it lacks adequate policies to increase access to solar for more Maine families and businesses.

Thankfully, the Legislature is considering a bill, L.D. 1263, that aims to ramp up solar production in Maine. The bill makes solar power more accessible for Maine people, businesses and communities by dramatically reducing the payback period for solar projects.

The bill would put Maine on the path for significant and steady growth in solar over the next decade by ensuring that 2.5 percent of Maine’s energy comes from solar by 2022. That’s about 200 megawatts of solar by 2022, compared to about 10 megawatts in Maine today. Analysts predict this would equate to the creation of 560 new jobs in Maine over the next eight years.

I urge Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, and other lawmakers to support L.D. 1263.

Jennifer Curtis

Augusta

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