Maine Residents Ready for Solar Energy

Solar energy boston

Citizens of Maine are encouraging the state government to consider making residential solar technology more accessible. Maine’s last solar incentive program expired in 2010, and has yet to be reinstated. There is also a limit on the number of people who can co-own residential solar power systems, currently set at 10.

Representative Sara Gideon has introduced a bill to drastically alter Maine’s policies on solar incentives. The bill would require Maine to obtain 2.5% of its electricity from solar energy technology by 2022, as well as to offer solar rebates and incentives to home and businessowners. The incentives would lower the average payback time to eight years from 14. Unfortunately, Maine Governor Paul LePage is likely to veto the bill due to the costs it would place on ratepayers’ traditional electricity bills.

Gideon’s bill also attempts to remove the 10-person limit on solar energy co-ownership. This is especially important to Kim Kenway, the owner of Gouldsboro Solar. Kenway plans to build the largest solar facility in Maine, using an abandoned Navy radar site. With 40 acres and toxic buildings, the land has room for 9,500 solar panels and is unable to be repurposed for many other uses. The solar panel array would power between 500 and 600 homes, and bring much-needed revenue to the town without releasing emissions or pollutants.

The city of Portland’s planning director, Tex Heuser, has similar goals. He wants to place a solar farm on a large, local capped landfill. In the past, the city has been unable to overcome financial barriers to building the solar farm. If Gideon’s bill is passed, investors will be able to move forward with the solar farm’s construction, earning tax credits and other benefits.

In addition to helping cities and companies, the bill’s passing would help homeowners install residential solar power systems. If they can obtain shorter repayment times and significant tax credits, Maine residents are ready to move forward with renewable solar energy.

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