Act Now to Save Maine’s Solar Rebate
In the News | May 16, 2013 |Posted by Fred Greenhalgh
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Maine’s solar rebate program was renewed in late 2010 with broad bipartisan support – unfortunately due to a technical error the legislation was invalidated.
Since the transition to the LePage administration, there has been opposition to the system benefit charge (SBC) which was used to fund the solar rebate fund. This fee amounted to approximately $1 per utility customer per year.
Since the loss of funding, Maine’s solar rebate has continued with pre-2010 SBC funding and other sources of stopgap funding. However, even stopgap funds are running thin and without new legislation the solar rebate in Maine will disappear completely.
There Still is Time
The Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee is currently working on a 2013 Energy “Omnibus” Bill which includes several pieces of broadly supported energy legislation designed to help Mainers transition away from expensive heating oil. The Committee has the ability to add language that would restore the solar rebate within the broader bill.
However, they need to hear from Mainers ASAP talking about how important solar is to them.
Here is the request ReVision is making of all our supporters:
- Contact members of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee and urge them to add the solar rebate to the Omnibus Bill (http://www.maine.gov/legis/house/jt_com/eut.htm) Even if you live outside their district it’s important they hear that Mainers are passionate about solar
- Contact your legislator and urge him/her to support solar in the Energy Omnibus bill (Find yours at: http://maine.gov/legis/house/townlist.htm).
- Contact Patrick Woodcock of the Governor’s Energy Office directly: [email protected] and phone: (207) 624-7405. The Governor has come out specifically opposed to solar legislation, even though solar energy systems accomplish his stated goal of reducing Mainer’s consumption of oil.
- OK, a fourth. Email everyone you think will care about this and share this on Facebook.
Why Support Solar?
Maine’s solar rebate program provides an incentive for home and business owners to invest in solar energy and save money on their utility bills. These investments are helping to grow an industry that has grown 76% year-on-year nationally, and currently employees between 200-300 people in Maine.
ReVision Energy alone has grown from a two person business in 2003 to a company with over 50 employees at three locations just ten years later. Solar provides highly-skilled, good paying local jobs and allows many Mainers like myself to find meaningful employment in our home state.
Finally, money that homeowners save on their energy bills stays in Maine. Roughly $5 billion leaves the state each year to pay for oil, gas, and electricity. Keeping this money in state provides a multiplier effect that benefits Maine businesses and families alike.
Maine is at a crossroads: do we embrace a renewable energy future or doom our children to suffer the consequences of fossil fuel energy dependency? With 33% more sunshine than Germany (the world leader in solar), why doesn’t every Maine town look like this?
Your voice does make a difference – please act today to help preserve this important incentive: for our energy future, our environment, and for the hundreds of Mainers ready to install solar energy systems.