Maine’s Solar Challenge Goes Beyond Gov.’s Roof

Maine’s Gov. John Baldacci is working to improve the solar industry of the state, so he started by having solar photovoltaic (PV) system installed that would power the governor’s office in the state.

The PV system was donated to the Governors’ office by a coalition of Maine citizens in response to the Governors’ Solar Challenge. The challenge is an East Coast effort to get the region’s officials to lead by example and demonstrate the opportunity for individual action to create a cleaner, more sustainable energy mix across the country. Individuals and groups in each state are given the task to raise money and donate a solar electric system to their governor’s office. Blue Link Solar Network of Arundel, Maine is sponsoring the challenge for the state by providing the solar array. A Blue Link 480 PV array is feeding electricity into the State House and powering the governor’s office. The company describes their product, which is rated at 480 W installed capacity for each module, as an appliance that literally plugs into your home and generates as much electricity as is used by the computer, stereo, TV, microwave, and coffee maker combined. It’s a system that’s designed to encourage broad participation in solar energy, according to Blue Link. Accepting the array isn’t the only solar action that Gov. Baldacci has taken in the past year. Members of the State Legislature are considering the governor’s “Act to encourage the use of solar energy”, LD 1586, which is currently in the Committee on Utilities and Energy. The bill provides for rebates, sales tax exemptions and income tax credits for the purchase and installation of solar water heating and solar air heating systems. Rebates and sales tax exemptions for the purchase and installation of PV systems for residential or commercial property owners are also included in the bill.

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