On Friday, April 29, the Maine Legislature will be deciding about Solar Bill L.D. 1649 and indeed, the very future of solar in Maine. Last week, the Maine Senate unanimously approved L.D. 1649, which would significantly expand solar in Maine. The House also approved it, but Gov. LePage has promised to veto it. On Friday, the Legislature will have an opportunity to overturn this veto with a two-thirds majority. If the veto stands, then solar jobs and the solar industry will have a great deal of trouble continuing in Maine. Rep. Paul Chace (Durham, Pownal, and North Yarmouth) voted against L.D. 1649 the first time around, and needs to hear from his constituents that clean, renewable solar power must be a part of our energy future.

This bill took six months in the negotiations and has the backing of solar providers, utility companies, the Public Advocate and PUC staff. They recognize that the future benefits of increasing solar in Maine far outweigh the immediate limited costs connected to investing in Maine’s solar future. Indeed, if L.D. 1649 is not allowed to go through, Maine ratepayers will see their electric rates rise over the coming years. The reasons to increase solar are multiple, including the fact that, unlike all fossil fuels, the sun doesn’t charge for its clean, endless supply of energy.

There are two solar companies in Chace’s district, currently with a dozen employees, plus local electrical contractors and suppliers that benefit from solar installations. If solar energy is encouraged in Maine, there will be an increase in solar jobs for young people in our towns, whereas defeat of this bill will be extremely damaging to the solar industry in Maine.

I thank Sen. Mason who voted for the bill. He has said he believes that solar should become a greater part of our energy future and he has voted accordingly. I strongly urge Rep. Chace to do the same when the opportunity comes to over-turn LePage’s veto of the bill, and I hope others will contact him immediately with their thoughts on the matter.

Sukie Rice

Freeport

and Durham Friends Meeting