Letter: Raise solar cap

Thursday, January 12, 2017
Raise solar cap

Dear State House or Senate Member: Congratulations on your recent election to state office.

As a member of our state Senate or House of Representatives, you have considerable power to make our state both environmentally cleaner and more energy independent. Our state is mandated to produce 25 percent of our electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025. Many of your constituents applaud this goal and hope that you support this endeavor. However, of all the four classes of renewable energy sources in this mandate, solar photovoltaic generation was only allocated .3 percent.

Having this very low goal has greatly decreased the ability of our citizens to be able to put solar panels on their property since the cap for this has nearly been reached. Solar energy is a unique form of renewable energy in that it does not produce carbon dioxide and particulates like biomass generated electricity. The biomass technology class was allocated 8 percent of the 25 percent total and has not even come close to meeting this goal. In fact, the biomass class of renewables is so far below its goal that the goal was substantially reduced for the past three years.

Our citizens pay nearly $6 billion for electricity per year. Most of these energy dollars go out of our state and out of our economy. Solar dollars on the other hand not only stay in our state but actually stay in the communities where the photovoltaic electricity was produced.

As you anticipate your legislative duties, we would like you to strongly consider taking action to promote clean, renewable solar energy in our state. Raising the cap for solar from .3 percent to 3 percent would be a very good start.

Douglas Smithwood