The large field of solar voltaic panels being installed for Colby College in Waterville indicates that some institutions recognize that solar power makes both economic sense and climate sense as it reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

Head north another exit or two and one can see a windmill and the site of Kennebec Valley Community College. It is one of the few institutions in Maine that offers specific training in the energy service area. One can obtain practical training on all aspects of energy related services including erecting solar panels. Licensed and/or certified technicians filling the local job market are trained at KVCC.

Head south on Interstate 95 and we are at the Capitol, where our legislators pass laws that impact our way of life. Soon they will be voting on L.D. 1504, an excellent bill that would protect the solar industry and jobs in Maine and develop a new solar market.

L.D. 1504 would increase the development of solar power for businesses, agriculture, community farms and municipalities by offering an alternative method of compensation while net metering is studied.

It would put off a Public Utilities Commission rule forcing utility expenditure of millions of dollars for an expensive billing system whose costs would be passed on to consumers.

And it would facilitate the continuous development of the solar industry in Maine, offering new job opportunities to those obtaining applicable skills locally. The former public advocate supports L.D. 1504. IECG — representing a local large paper mill — supports it too.

Our neighbor state of New Hampshire has more than twice the number of solar workers as Maine. Vermont, with a population of less than half of Maine’s, employs more than three times the number of solar workers.

Legislators need to pass L.D. 1504 and be ready to override a veto by Gov. Paul LePage.

Pol Wheelock


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