Senate Republican Leader presents bill to bring more solar energy investment to Maine

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) A public hearing was held on a bill Thursday that could really amp up the solar industry in Maine.

It would cut out a lot of the red tape around bringing solar energy to the state.

Maine has fallen behind every other New England state when it comes to solar energy, according to a study by the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Bill sponsor Senate Minority Leader Dana Dow, R-Waldoboro, says this could result in a lot of investment and create jobs, as well as bring in new, clean, renewable energy.

He says this bill would foremost help medium to medium-large sized solar projects such as school districts and town offices.

"We do good in this state with wind power," said Dow. "We're a little bit behind New England with solar energy. This will help bring investment into the state of Maine so it reduces some of the roadblocks to bring that type of money in that we need to set up this type of solar power."

Similar legislation has been presented in years past but has failed to make it into law.

However, this bill has support from both Republican leadership and Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, and Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, so this time could be different.