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Ratepayers would pay a premium for solar power

To the Editor:

I’d like to respond regarding the cost of solar power that Governor Paul R. LePage was speaking about in his recent address (“PUC decision confirms ratepayers pay twice,” TCT, Feb. 27, 2016). I looked into buying a solar power setup for my home during the summer of 2016. My home is already geothermal heated, and I wanted to double down on the “green life.”

During discussions with the solar power company, it was determined that I spent about $2,000 per year in electricity (a large portion of that runs the geothermal heat pump). To replace 100 percent of the expended electrical costs, the entire system would cost me just aver $52,000. When you figure in the anticipated half-percent degradation of the panels annually, it would take just about 28 years for the panels to “break even.”

If you factor in the tax credit—and let’s be clear here, that means legally forcing everyone else to help pay for your solar electrical system—that break-even point is about 19 years.

From a purely financial outlook, this type of system simply is not a sound investment. It costs money to be green, and it’s something only the affluent can truly afford, yet the tax credit forces everyone to pay for it.

I am all in (with my own money) and support green energy. But I do not believe we should be forcing everyone to pay a premium for it. It should be a good enough prospect that it should stand on its own merits, not it’s inflated pricing.

As I heard someone once say, if the government was guaranteeing payment, wouldn’t you raise your rates? The government effectively paying 30 percent means there is little incentive toward this industry lowering prices and making itself competitive and more effective.

Robert McQueeney

Bryant Pond

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