I read with interest Alan Caron’s Dec. 18 column, “To get cheaper energy, we Mainers have to produce it ourselves.”

My home in Rockport is a good example. We installed a solar electric system (23 panels) on our barn last April.

The system, rated at about 6,000 kilowatt hours per year, will supply about 75 percent of our power needs over the course of a year, including electric power to recharge the batteries on our plug-in hybrid car.

With the federal tax credit, the system cost $13,500 and will have a seven- to nine-year payback. If Maine electric rates go up, my household would be immune from most of the increase and the payback period would be sharply reduced.

It should be noted that both New Hampshire and Massachusetts offer substantial incentives for solar residential installations in addition to the federal tax credit. Maine, with its highly regressive energy policy, offers nothing.

The advantages of our solar electric system include:

Reduced electrical power costs.

• Greatly reduced carbon footprint.

 10 to 12 percent return on the investment.

 75 percent of the power needs for the house and about 25 percent of the fuel needs for our car supplied by clean energy.

And while we paid for our system, I understand that lease options now make similar systems affordable without paying a large, upfront fee. Anyone who has a south-facing roof should investigate solar electrical.

Alan Caron’s column hit the center of the target.

Bruce Cole


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