Hundreds of Solar Supporters Rally in Augusta

May 4, 2017

A couple hundred solar power supporters turned out in Augusta Thursday. They’re backing legislation to overturn a decision by state regulators that reduces payments for solar power sold to the grid.

“The bill that so many of you have been working so hard on, as you know, is a win for Maine’s economy. It’s a win for jobs, it’s a win for our environment, it’s a win for rates,” says Rep. Seth Berry, a Democrat from Bowdoinham who sponsored the bill.

Others at the rally stressed how renewable energy reduces the overall demand on conventional power plants and that installation of the solar panels would provide needed jobs.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission had ruled that businesses and homeowners that generate electricity through solar panels would get paid less for any excess power they sell back to utility companies. Existing customers are grandfathered, but new solar generators will see their payments decline over 15 years.

Lawmakers are considering legislation that would reverse the PUC ruling and also provide new tax incentives to install solar.