Tux Turkel’s assessment (April 27) that “political values and ideology will again play a large role in the future of solar energy growth in Maine” is disheartening. I hope he’s wrong.

Partisan posturing is hurting Maine people who are desperate for good jobs and for more choices in heating their homes. So while Massachusetts trails only California in the number of solar jobs created, and Vermont has three times as many as Maine, we’re 40th in the nation in solar jobs.

The over 250,000 solar industry workers in the country help drive the economy in their communities through the taxes they pay and the goods and services they purchase. Vendors supporting the industry create jobs as well.

Rep. Seth Berry’s bill, L.D. 1373, will make it possible for low- and moderate-income Mainers to take advantage of solar’s potential to save them money and give them more choices and a measure of energy independence. It will establish net metering into law, so solar users can continue to receive credit for the power they produce.

The new Public Utilities Commission rules issued this winter will undermine existing solar industry jobs in Maine, yet Maine taxpayers have shelled out millions of dollars to prop up the highly polluting biomass industry in our state, all in the name of job preservation.

Charlie Baker, the Republican governor of Massachusetts, recently told CNBC that “solar is an important part of our ever-expanding clean-energy economy in Massachusetts, supporting thousands of high-skilled careers across the commonwealth.”


And in one instance, Vermont’s Green Mountain Power was able to avoid spot power purchases at peak prices during a time of peak demand and use stored power from solar, thus saving $200,000, the Associated Press reported in an article published in the Dec. 25 Portland Press Herald.

Maine is missing the boat.

Mary Ann Larson


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