The sun offers us a renewable, environmentally friendly source of energy if we choose to harness it. I made that choice, largely because I wanted to reduce my carbon footprint. Now a special meter on our barn, where the solar panels are installed, keeps track of any unused energy that is sent back to “the grid” to be used by other electricity customers.

The Maine Sunday Telegram recently indicated that we’re paid for this electricity, citing a law that “requires utilities to pay small energy generators the full retail price for all the electricity they send into the grid.”

We do not get paid. We’re simply credited for the excess electricity we produce and may draw from that credit when our system is not producing the power we need. We still pay the monthly charge for the electric company to deliver our power, although not a lot is getting delivered.

My understanding is that the excess power we produce goes out to nearby customers, which, I’m told, makes that energy less expensive because it costs more to deliver electricity long distances. (Some of it apparently gets lost as it travels through power lines.) Also, our extra power gets made when the sun is high in the sky and power demands are also high.

I understand that big power-producing companies are paid extra for the electricity they send out during this time and that they also get big payments for having that extra energy available during these peak periods. That doesn’t happen for me.

Certainly, other power customers are not incurring additional costs because of my system, as our governor has suggested.

I’ll access a federal credit, but that’s available to anyone in the country. I would hope Maine people would want some of that money to come back to our state to support renewable energy systems that don’t destroy our environment. I would hope Maine people see the light.

Jane Sawyer