A solar energy bill that passed through the legislature with overwhelming support became law without his Governor Paul LePage’s signature.
“For a decade lawmakers have worked together in a bipartisan manner to move Maine’s energy policy forward, and we continue to do so with this law,” said Democratic Senator Eloise VItelli of Arrowsic, the sponsor of the bill.“Maine is one of the most oil-dependent states in the country. This law will give the people in our state an opportunity to do something about that.”
Maine spends $5 billion per year importing fossil fuels and is the most petroleum-dependent state for home heating, with more than 70 percent of households using it as their primary heating source. According to a 2010 report, rooftop solar panels alone could provide 24 percent of Maine’s electricity.
For the first time, Maine will have specific goals in law for increasing the use of solar energy. These new statutory goals for solar energy include: ensuring that solar energy provides energy that benefits all ratepayers regardless of income level; increasing the number of businesses and residences using solar technology as an energy resource; and increasing the State’s workforce engaged in the manufacturing and installation of solar technology.
The new law also directs the Public Utilities Commission to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the benefits and costs of solar so that policymakers have good information about the quantifiable value of solar energy for Maine homeowners and businesses.