Maine people deserve access to an affordable way to generate their own powerPrices for solar panels have fallen 75% in the last five years, making it a great option for producing electricity in Maine.States and nations with less sun than Maine are building huge amounts of rooftop solar. But our state has no vision or plan for how to make solar accessible to more Mainers.Solar power can be generated in every Maine town, urban or rural. It’s free to produce but requires an up-front investment to install.Corporate utility monopolies are lobbying to limit solar power for Maine homes and businesses. They want to reduce how much Maine people get paid for the solar electricity they produce, and oppose policies to make solar more accessible to more Mainers. Mainers need to take charge of our own electricity.Solar power is a renewable source of clean, pollution-free energy that Maine should invest in for clean air and a healthy environmentMaine people support renewable energy because it reduces pollution and protects the environment.Power plants are a leading source of climate-changing pollution. It is important that we increase cleaner energy since climate change threatens Maine’s economy and way of life in countless ways.Solar panels provide extra value because they produce clean power when we need it the most—on hot summer days when power from the electric grid is the most expensive and most polluting. Maine is falling behind other states in solar energy, solar jobs, and cutting energy costsThis bill establishes a vision and goals for investing in solar power, and asks agencies to focus more on supporting solar power development.All other New England states are doing more to help people develop and benefit from solar power, and they are creating a significant number of solar industry jobs. Massachusetts has six times more solar jobs per capita than Maine.Maine continues to send billions of dollars every year out-of- state to buy imported fossil fuels. The path to less dollar drain and more energy independence is more homegrown renewable energy.Distributed rooftop solar power is increasingly seen as a way to limit expensive transmission and distribution costs, which are driving up electric rates for Mainers.
The Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee held a public hearing on January 21st.