To the Editor:
Just about five months ago, Downeast Community Partners (DCP), working with Revision Energy, completed a solar array that will provide power to nine of our buildings and over time will allow us to put more money into programs and less into paying utility bills. When we first looked into building the array, which is located on land DCP owns in Franklin, we wanted to build a larger array and use the surplus electricity to power the homes of families or individuals who were struggling with their utility bills.
In the process, however, we learned that current law restricts solar arrays like the one we built to supplying power to a maximum of nine meters. This requirement limits our ability and the ability of others to build larger arrays that are more economical to construct and operate while also providing positive environmental benefits.
Legislation is now being considered (LD 1711) that will eliminate the 9-meter restriction. This will allow organizations like ours as well as many others to take advantage of solar technology, which can be less expensive and cleaner than traditional power sources. In our case, we will focus on developing an array that will help low income and elderly residents with their utility bills. The legislation as written, however, will benefit all of us allowing the construction of larger arrays that could serve community groups and businesses with more than nine locations. If approved by the legislature LD 1711 will create a path towards cleaner and less expensive electricity.