Maine might be the northernmost state on the East Coast, but that doesn’t mean Mainers can’t save hundreds on their electricity bills when they go solar. EnergySage is here to help you understand the different solar programs in the Pine Tree State, and then give you all the information you need to actually go solar.
What are the best solar programs and rebates in Maine
Maine has multiple solar programs and policies in place to make going solar easy in Vacationland. These include:
Maine net metering
ME Net Metering is the most important solar policy you need to understand in Maine, because it guarantees your ability to sell electricity to the grid. This is key because it allows you to balance your electricity production and consumption; when your solar panels are producing at full bore during the day but you are not using much electricity, you are able to sell the excess to the utility to offset your energy consumption at other times. On top of that, you will get paid at the retail rate, which is higher than the wholesale rate that big power plants get.
The state will also help finance your purchase of a solar energy system with a relatively inexpensive loan. With a Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Loan, you pay no money down, and instead of monthly loan payments, you repay with an annual assessment on your property taxes. In Maine, you can get a PACE loan for up to $15,000 for 15 years at a 4.99% interest rate.
Community solar in Maine
Maine has also passed laws to encourage the piloting of "community shared solar", a model that would allow Mainers to buy into larger, shared solar installations. While all specifics are still being hammered out, keep your eyes peeled for the option to go solar without actually having to put any panels on your own roof.
The federal solar panel tax credit
The federal government is also here to help with its landmark Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which was recently extended. In addition to the Maine-specific solar programs, you can reduce the cost of your solar energy system by 30 percent through this credit on your income taxes. The ITC applies only to those who buy their system with cash or with a solar loan like PACE, and you must have enough income for the tax credit to be relevant.