Maine solar rebates and incentives: 2024 guide

The average Maine solar shopper will save more than $5,300 from the federal solar tax credit alone.

Updated Mar 12, 2024

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    Written by: EnergySage Staff

    Despite the long, snowy winters and frequently gray skies, Maine is actually a great state for going solar—because the cost of energy is so high. 

    While there aren’t huge state-level rebates or incentives available, a rock-solid net metering policy helps Mainers squeeze the full value out of all the solar power they produce. And of course, the federal tax credit takes a huge chunk out of the cost of installation.

    See how much solar costs in Maine.

    The single biggest solar incentive in Maine is actually a federal tax credit.

    Residential Clean Energy Credit

    The Residential Clean Energy Credit, formerly known as the federal investment tax credit (ITC), or simply the federal solar tax credit, can reduce your solar panel system's cost by 30%. Your entire system, including all the equipment, labor, permitting, and sales tax, qualifies for the ITC. 

    Incentive
    Average savings in Maine
    Description

    Residential Clean Energy Tax Credit, formerly the federal investment tax credit (ITC)

    $5,282

    Lowers your solar panel system's cost by 30%

    In Maine, the average cost for a 5 kW solar panel system is around $17,608. Once you factor in the 30% credit, the cost of a solar panel system in Maine comes down to $12,326.

    When you file your taxes, you can claim this incentive as a credit towards your federal tax bill. Just keep in mind that to qualify for the ITC, you need to purchase your system either with cash or a solar loan–if you lease your system, you won't be eligible. 

    You also need a high enough tax bill, though you can roll over any remaining credit year-to-year until the end of 2034. The only time you might be eligible for a direct payment for the ITC is if you're a tax-exempt entity, like a nonprofit organization.

    In addition to the federal solar tax credit, Maine also offers a solar property tax exemption

    Solar panels tend to increase the value of your home, which can translate to slightly higher property taxes. But in Maine, if you power your home with those panels, you can apply for an exemption that allows you to avoid paying taxes on their additional assessed value. Official documents are not clear about how long the exemption lasts, but there are some clues in the text that it’s for the lifetime of the system.

    Tax exemption
    Description

    Maine solar property tax exemption

    Exempt from paying property taxes on the value added by solar panels. The typical property tax in Maine is 1.09%

    If you connect your solar panel system to the grid, you can benefit from net metering—which is really the ultimate incentive for rooftop solar, even more than big rebates and tax credits. 

    Under net metering, the sun doesn’t need to shine all the time to get massive value from your solar panels. Your electric utility company essentially works like a bank account for all the energy your solar panels produce in a given month.

    When the sun shines, your home’s electrical system first takes as much power as it needs from the solar panels. If the panels make any excess energy, it gets sent back onto the grid, and your utility company gives you full credit for all of it on your energy bill. 

    When the sun isn’t shining and you need grid electricity to power your home, the utility company just starts drawing against your credits. You won’t pay for electricity until those credits run out.

    In Maine, the net metering rules work the same way across all electric utilities, including Versant, Central Maine Power, Eastern Maine Electric Coop, and smaller providers.

    A few nuances to keep in mind:

    • Solar metering in Maine is credited in kWh, rather than dollars. Any monthly fixed costs (like meter connection fees) may need to be paid in cash—kWh credits won’t apply.

    • Credits roll over from month to month. Technically, you need to use your energy credits within 12 months of generation, otherwise you surrender them to the utility company. But unless your solar array is drastically oversized, or your home is unoccupied for a while, you’re unlikely to ever lose any credits because it’s a rolling 12-month window. So any credits generated in July are valid until the following July, and September credits are good until the following September, and so on. Credits also get used on a first-in first-out basis, so you’ll always be using up your oldest (closest-to-expiring) credits first.

    • A tiny quirk: Maine’s net metering policy is technically known as “net energy billing.” This is a little confusing, because in the solar industry “net billing” is typically used to describe policies with less-favorable terms for consumers. Whatever they call it, Maine has an excellent solar crediting policy, among the best in the U.S.

    No, Maine doesn't offer any state-specific battery incentives. Solar batteries don’t make much financial sense for Maine homeowners anyway, because the net metering policy is so consumer friendly that you don’t really benefit from hoarding your solar power. None of the utility companies in Maine offer a virtual power plant program for homeowners, either.

    However, if you’re interested in a battery as a backup power source for your home, all batteries above 3 kWh in size are eligible for the 30% federal tax credit.

    Learn more about battery incentives and rebates See the complete list of solar companies in Maine

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