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    Fact Sheet: Solar Energy Use in Maine

    Maine is celebrated for its breathtaking natural beauty. Located at the northernmost tip of the East Coast, the state is home to a historic fishing industry with seaside villages and world-famous lobster. Maine also features quiet beaches and sprawling forests of spruces, firs, and pines. With these pristine natural resources in need of protection, Maine holds an important position in the country's solar power industry. The state is off to an exciting start with several strong solar incentives for interested homeowners.
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    Maine has a great deal of potential for solar power. The state has one of the strongest Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) in the nation with a requirement that 40% of total retail electric sales come from renewable resources by 2017. The strength of this RPS, along with a few other fantastic solar incentives, make this an exciting time to invest in solar energy in Maine. Read on to discover the pros and cons of solar power in the state and decide if a solar energy system is right for you.

    Grid Connected Solar Power Systems in Maine (2012)

    • Residential Solar Power Systems: 1.4 Megawatt
    • Non-Residential Solar Power Systems: 0.3 Megawatt
    • Utility: NA
    • Total: 1.7 Megawatt
    • Cumulative: 2.8 Megawatt

    There are very few solar power systems in Maine. However, the state has a strong interconnection law which covers all utilities under a tiered system. Most residential solar power systems fall under in tier 1 (10 kw or less), which means that these systems are exempt from any insurance coverage requirements. Homeowners with tier 1 systems also have an application fee of only $50.

    Cost of Electricity in Maine

    • Electricity Price: $0.14 per kWh
    • Average Electricity Bill: $123.00
    • Average Bill after Solar: $87

    Maine residents who invest in a solar energy system can save an average of $36 on their electricity bill each month. It generally takes about 10.3 years for solar energy systems in the state to pay for themselves.

    Solar Radiation

    Average solar radiation in Maine is between 2 and 3 kilowatt per day over an area of 1 square meter (10.76 square feet). Maine experiences an average of 159 days of sun annually. Despite its position as the northernmost state on the East Coast, Maine still receives plenty of sunshine for successful solar energy systems.

    State Solar Incentives and Rebate Programs

    • State Solar Tax Credit: None
    • State Solar Rebate: None
    • Property Tax Exemption: None
    • Sales Tax Exemption: None

    Maine still has a lot of work to do in order to develop solar incentives for its residents. However, Efficiency Maine, an independent administrator for solar energy programs, offers an excellent solar power rebate. Currently, the program offers homeowners $500 per 1000 kwh of estimated annual electricity production, capped at $2,000 for residential systems. The state also provides a generous net metering law: all utilities are required to offer net metering to individual customers. Additionally, the Federal Tax Credit also applies.

    Solar Installers in Maine

    In order to be eligible for Maine's solar thermal rebate program, solar energy systems must be installed by licensed plumbers who have received additional certification for solar thermal systems from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Efficiency Maine's solar thermal rebate program maintains a list of registered solar installers. To research the license of your solar installer, you can call (866) 376-2463.

    Summary: Potential for Solar Power Systems

    The future of solar energy in Maine is promising. While the state still needs to establish stronger statewide solar incentives, its first rate RPS and net metering law, as well as the Efficiency Maine rebate program, translate to considerable savings. To calculate your costs and savings please use our Solar Calculator or contact solar installers in your area.

    Solar Energy Fact Sheet: Maine, © SolarContact.com

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    Written by: Oliver Behrla, Editor www.SolarContact.com