Dillon Fitts of Insource Renewables gets some of the solar panels ready as they were getting installed on Thane Fremouw and Clarissa Henry’s home in Orono in August 2017. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

A Bangor Daily News article from March 15 outlined challenges facing the community solar industry in Maine, but vastly understated the benefits that community solar offers ratepayers.

Community solar delivers electricity bill savings to customers who cannot install their own solar panels for a variety of reasons, including renters, small-business owners and others unable to afford their own rooftop arrays. These electricity bill savings are guaranteed to all customers who enroll in fully built and interconnected community solar projects. Period.

All Mainers should have an opportunity to benefit from the energy savings associated with solar power and should be able to contribute to the growth of locally generated clean energy resources.

In addition, community solar can help Maine farmers diversify their profits and productivity and take advantage of unused open spaces. The opportunity to earn income by leasing land to solar projects allows farmers to maintain their own financial independence while promoting the state’s energy independence.

The community solar industry is diligently working, alongside many stakeholders, to overcome planning and technical challenges of this moment of growth. But the goal is — and always has been — to bring the real benefits of community solar to as many Maine ratepayers as possible.

Kaitlin Kelly O’Neill

Northeast regional director

Coalition for Community Solar Access