Solar panels being installed on the roof of Mount Desert Island High School. With the new array and the new change to solar credit rules, the school is now anticipated to save more than $1M over 25 years. PHOTO COURTESY OF ACTT

Students celebrate solar win

AUGUSTA — Wednesday, June 26, Governor Janet Mills signed into law three major renewable energy reform bills.

The bill signing took place in Pittsfield at the largest solar array in the state, consisting of 40,300 panels generating 9.9 megawatts at peak performance.

Among the bills signed, LD 1711 includes a 75 percent solar credit for the transmission and distribution portion of the bills for large consumers such as Mount Desert Island High School, where panels are being installed this month.

The high school’s trustees approved the solar installation in January. The array was expected to save the school $216,000 over 25 years. The new credit is expected to increase the savings to almost $1.3M over that period.

The two other bills also bring significant change in emission reductions and renewable energy standards.

LD 1679 sets targets to reduce carbon emissions below 1990s levels by 45 perfect in 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, as well as establishing a Maine Climate Council.

Attending Governer Mills’ signing of bills related to solar power in Pittsfield last week were A Climate to Thrive interns, from left, Sam Murray, Isabella Childs Michael and Stella Walke. PHOTO COURTESY OF ACTT

The third bill, LD 1494, increases Maine’s renewable portfolio standard to 80 percent renewables by 2030 with a goal of 100 percent by 2050.

“With the signing of these bills, Maine is ushering in a new era of clean energy and climate leadership,” Mills said. “The Maine Climate Council will develop comprehensive action plans to meet our ambitious emissions reductions goals and the renewable energy legislation will spur clean energy development and investments that will increase production of homegrown, renewable energy and create good paying jobs for the people of Maine. Maine is once-again leading on clean energy.”

A Climate to Thrive (ACTT) interns attended the bill signing ceremony. “ACTT is hoping these new changes will provide greater economic incentives for going solar on a business or school on MDI and the rest of the state,” a statement from the group said.

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