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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- Supporters say a bill aimed at boosting solar energy development in Maine will strengthen the economy by creating jobs and help the environment by reducing the dependence on fossil fuels.

But Republican Gov. Paul LePage's administration says while it agrees with the ultimate objectives of the bill, it believes the free market should determine what form of energy is best to get the state there.

Under the bill considered by the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee on Tuesday, the state would establish the goal of having 40 megawatts of solar energy development by 2016, or enough to power roughly 6,000 homes.

Advocates say the state has fallen behind the rest of New England, which have incentive programs for solar development and far more solar powered projects than Maine.