By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,101)
A coalition of solar power advocates released a new report that provides a first-of-its-kind comparative look at the growth of solar power in major American cities, including Portland. It was not a comparison that these advocates were pleased about. The press conference held outside the iconic Becky’s Diner, Commercial Street, was hosted by Emily Figdor, of Environment Maine.
Part of what prompted the press conference under cold, rainy skies this morning, was a veto by Governor No (LePage) of Bill L.D. 252 that would have re-established Maine’s solar rebate program. A veto that leaves Maine as the only state in New England without policies to lower the barriers to solar energy development for residents and businesses – a regressive policy by a Governor who claims his policies are intended to help Maine businesses, not discourage them. Portland ranks 44th out of 67 cities across the nation in solar power use, said Figdor.
Zack Rand, whose mother owns Becky’s, said that the installation of solar panels on the roof, said their use has cut our energy costs dramatically. If it were not for the now defunct solar rebate program, it would not have been possible to make this change. Tim Soley, of East Brown Cow Management, said that his Fore Street Garage, with 450 spaces, with a southern facing roof, was a challenge from the start to implement, but it’s been more than worth it. “We are now getting calls from away about how to do this,” Soley said. “I would be thrilled for Portland and the State of Maine to put policies in place to make it easier for companies like mine to use pollution-free solar energy.”
US Congressman Mike Michaud said: “Under his administration, Maine would return to being a leader in the field of solar energy. I look forward to reading this report,” he said. It’s called: “Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution.” The Congressman is running against the incumbent Governor LePage and Eliot Cutler for Governor in November.
Portland’s Mayor Michael Brennan said: “I’m used to talking about how Portland is at the top on so many issues. We are not at the head of the pack on solar energy. We should go back to redouble our efforts on solar energy. We can no longer push environmental issues into the future. We need to deal with them now.”