No more stalling on solar


On April 14 the Maine Legislature passed the solar bill, and awaits the governor’s certain veto. An override vote is scheduled for April 29. Thankfully, Sen. Amy Volk has thus far voted for the bill, but in the House (which voted 91-56 for the bill) Reps. Heather Sirocki and Karen Vachon were among the no votes and have declared their opposition to override. The bill now needs about six more votes for override.

Over four years the bill would increase photovoltaic solar in Maine eight-fold and create an estimated 650 new jobs. Maine’s net metering regulations are about to expire, and L.D. 1649 would establish new rules that have the support of old and new customers, the solar industry, the Public Advocate appointed by governor LePage, and utilities.
Maine’s fledgling solar industry needs to know how it is to be regulated in order to move forward. The choice right now is more clean solar with sustainable economic growth or uncertainty. Do we want to leave new solar policy to the PUC appointed by Gov. LePage, or to far-sighted legislation supported by most legislators and the public? 
Neighboring states have reliable solar policy and much faster growth in their solar industries. Maine has about 200 good solar jobs now, most with local Revision Energy (which, by the way, may refocus on New Hampshire if this bill fails). By contrast, Vermont and New Hampshire have twice as many solar jobs, while Massachusetts is approaching 15,000 good-paying solar jobs.

Our state, nation and world desparately need more renewable energy now. “Conservatives” have stalled and blocked clean energy progress for decades. Please, Rep. Sirocki and Rep. Vachon, do the right thing for our future. No petty excuses,  vote to override. Grow solar in Maine.

Charles Spanger