The Coalition for Community Solar Access honors individuals for their dedication to advancing Maine’s Community Solar Program
Augusta, ME (October 3, 2023) — The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) is marking a year of legislative victory and momentum for community solar in Maine by recognizing outstanding legislators and policy specialists for their work expanding the state’s community solar program in 2023.
They are among 22 Community Solar Champions nationwide, including state legislators, environmental and sustainability advocates, labor leaders, advocates for disadvantaged communities, and farmers and agricultural groups.
Maine’s Community Solar Champions include State Senator Mark Lawrence, State Representative Paige Zeigler, State Representative Gerry Runte, and Lindsay Bourgoine, Director of Policy and Government Affairs for ReVision Energy.
State Sen. Mark Lawrence sponsored LD 1986, the key legislation to protect and reform Maine’s solar programs. Additionally, under his leadership, the Maine Senate rejected a dangerous counterproposal that would have undone the state’s progress towards building a clean energy future, and, instead, helped the Maine Senate adopt legislation to move solar programs forward.
“Sen. Lawrence has been an unwavering champion of solar in Maine, and a strong advocate for the benefits that community solar delivers,” said Kate Daniel, Northeast Regional Director for CCSA. “He has more than earned his stripes as a Community Solar Champion.”
In his capacity as the House Chair of the Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications Committee, State Rep. Paige Zeigler shepherded Maine’s solar future through challenging obstacles and co-sponsored LD 1986, to enable equitable community solar options.
“Rep. Zeigler showed true passion and dedication to ensuring a positive outcome for community solar, and our legislative victory could not have happened without him,” Daniel added.
Rep. Gerry Runte, as a freshman member of the Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications Committee, quickly demonstrated the value of his experience and expertise in energy issues, performing thorough research on all sides of the net energy billing debate. Rep. Runte sponsored several bills to progress clean energy in Maine, including a bill that takes important steps to improve the management of Maine’s electric distribution system.
“In addition to his very thoughtful support of LD 1986, Rep. Gerry Runte assessed the arguments on all sides of the net energy billing debate, did his own research, and after such informed critical thinking about the issue, we’re grateful that Rep. Runte became a strong advocate for distributed solar and ensuring Maine’s programs send the right signals to continue to invest in clean energy,” Daniel noted.
Lindsay Bourgoine, the Director of Policy and Government Affairs with ReVision Energy, performed essential groundwork behind Maine’s community solar legislative successes — from organizing supporters to gathering evidence on how Maine can benefit from expanded community solar.
“LD 1986 would not have passed if it were not for Lindsay’s advocacy and tireless efforts. She’s a strong voice for Mainers, making sure the state’s solar employers, employees, and customers were heard in the debate,” commented Daniel. “Her efforts made the successes we’ve witnessed this last year a reality in Maine.”
Through community solar, customers can enjoy equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar generation by subscribing to small local solar arrays. They then receive a credit on their utility bill for their share of the power that is produced, just as if the panels were on their own roof.
An estimated two-thirds of American households do not have access to solar power because they either rent, live in a multi-tenant building or have roofs unable to host a solar system.
There are currently 18 states plus the District of Columbia with policies in place that permit third-party, competitive community solar with multiple states advancing legislation to enable new programs.
About the Coalition for Community Solar Access
The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) is a national trade association representing over 120 community solar developers, businesses, and nonprofits. Together, we are building the electric grid of the future where every customer has the freedom to support the generation of clean, local solar energy to power their lives. Through legislative and regulatory advocacy, and the support of a diverse coalition — including advocates for competition, clean energy, ratepayers, landowners, farmers, and environmental justice — we enable policies that unlock the potential of distributed energy resources, starting with community solar. For more information, visit https://www.communitysolaraccess.org and follow the group on Twitter (X), LinkedIn, and YouTube.