Last year, I got a new job. It wasn’t just new for me, it was growing-the-economy new, and it was in solar.

I wasn’t alone – across the country, one in every 50 new jobs last year was in the solar industry. That’s more growth than natural gas, oil and coal combined.

But right now, Maine is lagging behind the nation and our New England neighbors in solar jobs. How do we get more of our fair share of the pie? With a strong solar policy.

Our legislators are currently considering the solar bill L.D. 1504. Now, I’m a big dork, and would love to talk your ear off about the ins and outs of net metering, how solar reduces costs for all by meeting peak demand, and the fascinating science of photovoltaics. And I can point to the well-researched facts behind all that.

But really, the point for me is that I have a good job, in a state I love, and I want more people to have what I have. A strong solar policy, like L.D. 1504, makes jobs for electricians, engineers, installers and office workers like me.

If the Legislature fails to pass L.D. 1504, the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s flawed net metering rule would take effect. This extreme rule would put an unjust tax on solar energy consumed on-site – like paying the supermarket for growing your own tomatoes – and it will cause unnecessary costs to all ratepayers. Jobs like mine will be at risk if legislators sit it out and allow ideology, instead of facts and data, to influence their vote.

Caitlin Marshall