Maine Solar Rebates And Incentives

Rebates list

Maine Rebates and Incentives Summary

MaineThanks to a longstanding lumber industry and investment in hydroelectric power, Maine has a strong commitment to sustainable energy. According to EIA data, the state produces roughly a quarter of power used in the state from renewable resources, 20 percent from hydroelectric and 40 percent of its electricity from natural gas generation. Maine has harsh winters, and roughly three-quarters of Maine’s homes use fuel oil to heat their homes, the highest share in the nation. The state restructured its utility industry in 2000, and residential customers who wish to purchase electricity on the competitive market are limited to electricity garnered from renewable resources.

Given its northern location, the amount of sunlight that hits Maine is less than the sunlight that hits states like Arizona and New Mexico, but the state still gets enough sunlight to justify photovoltaic (PV) systems. In fact, the state gets an average of 4.0 to 4.5 kilowatts per hour (kWh) of sunlight per square meter—about the same amount that Pennsylvania gets. Although the state ranks thirty-first in solar capacity, it has seen the amount of capacity installed increase significantly and the cost of solar installation drop substantially over the last few years.

Maine commissioned a landmark study, released in 2015, which determined that the value of solar far exceeds current electricity generation. In response, the state legislature adopted “Value of Solar” (VOS) pricing, which calculates the value of solar over an extended period of time to offset the costs of solar generation today. This program will eventually replace net metering and other incentives.

 

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Distributed Generation Buy-All, Sell-All Program

Note: In March 2017, the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued an order replacing net metering with a "buy-all, sell-all" compensation structure, which will gradually reduce the credit rate for energy produced by customer-generators from retail rate to the avoided cost rate. Although this entry is categorized as net metering, the policy adopted by the PUC does not meet DSIRE's definition of net metering, as self-consumption will no longer be permitted and production will no longer be netted one-to-one against consumption over the billing period.

Maine offers a Buy-All, Sell-All Compensation Program for new distributed generation customers, where a customer's

Efficiency Maine - Home Energy Loans

Efficiency Maine offers a variety of home energy loans to help customers pay for energy upgrades. Maine homeowners can borrow up to $15,000 over 10 years with interest rates as low as 4.99% APR. There are no additional fees associated with these loans.

Eligibility

Participant:

  • Homeowners of any income (businesses not eligible)
  • Borrower must be a Maine resident
  • Minimum credit score depends on loan type
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio depends on loan type
  • No recent bankruptcies, foreclosures, or repossessions, depending on loan type

Building:

  • Located in Maine, PACE loans only available in PACE Towns

Upgrades:

  • Required: an upgrade eligible for an

Efficiency Maine Appliance Rebate Program

Efficiency Maine offers a $50 rebate each for the purchase of ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers and room air purifiers. See program website here for the mail-in rebate forms. Efficiency Maine also offers a $750 mail-in rebate or a $750 instant rebate at participating distributors for the purchase of ENERGY STAR certified heat pump water heaters. See the Heat Pump Water Heater Rebate Website for mail-in rebate forms and a list of installers and participating retailers.

Efficiency Maine Residential Home Energy Savings Program

Qualified homeowners can receive up to $5,000 toward the cost of qualifying energy upgrades to a home’s insulation or heating system. Homeowners may work with their contractor to select upgrades from a menu of eligible measures. Incentives from Efficiency Maine’s Home Energy Savings Program (HESP) help offset the cost of air sealing, insulation, qualified heating systems, and in some cases, energy assessments.  
Efficiency Maine is also offering rebates for ultra-low greenhouse gas heating systems, including certain biomass boilers and furnaces, as well as ENERGY STAR geothermal heat pumps. This rebate is equal to one-third of the project cost, up to

Efficiency Maine Residential Lighting Program

Efficiency Maine works with lighting manufacturers, retailers, and distributors to reduce the prices of energy-efficient lighting products statewide. Find the best light bulb retail prices here.

In addition, in partnership with Maine Libraries, Efficiency Maine has made free electricity monitor loaners available for Maine residents to borrow from all of Maine’s libraries. The monitors plug into electrical outlets and then a consumer plugs an appliance into the monitor to find out how much electricity it uses.

Efficiency Maine Trust

Maine's public benefits fund for energy efficiency was authorized originally in 1997 by the state's electric industry restructuring legislation. Under the initial arrangement, the administration of certain efficiency programs was divided among the State Planning Office (SPO), the state's electric utilities, and the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC). However, as a result of the 2002 legislative amendments, the authority to develop energy efficiency programs was effectively transferred from the SPO to the PUC, and the authority to implement these programs was transferred from the state's electric utilities to the PUC.

In 2009, the Act Regarding Maine's Energy Future (Public

Efficiency Maine Trust - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Resource Fund

Maine's public benefits fund for renewable energy was established as part of the state's electric industry restructuring legislation, enacted in May 1997. The law directed the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to develop a voluntary program allowing customers to contribute to a fund that supports renewable energy projects. The fund is now part of the Efficiency Maine Trust. 

Funding Sources

The PUC adopted rules requiring the state's utilities to offer customers the option of supporting the fund by checking off a contribution of $1, $5, $10, or other amount each month on their electric bill. Every six months, each utility

Energy-Efficient Building Standards for State Facilities

Via Executive Order 27, Maine requires the construction or renovation of state buildings to incorporate "green building" standards that would achieve significant energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, provided that the costs of doing so are cost-effective over the life of the building.  All branches of state government are to cooperate with the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services (Bureau of General Services) to meet these requirements. School administrative districts and municipalities are not required to comply with these standards. Maine originally designated Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards be incorporated into the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of

Green Power Purchasing

In 2003, Maine's governor established a goal for the state government to buy at least 50% of its electricity from "reasonably priced" renewable power sources, paid for by energy conservation improvements in all state buildings. The goal was contained in the governor's "Vision" for meeting Maine's environmental needs. As of March 2007, Maine's state government was purchasing 100% of its power from renewable energy resources. The state's existing renewable energy portfolio standard accounts for 30% of this total. For the remaining 70%, the state is purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs) from the Rumford Falls hydropower project in Rumford, Maine.

Furthermore,

Interconnection Standards

The Maine Public Utility Commission (PUC) adopted interconnection procedures in January 2010. These rules apply to all transmission and distribution utilities operating in the state and apply to all distribution generation (not just renewables). Maine's interconnection procedures, based in part on the Interstate Renewable Energy Council's. 2006 Model Interconnection Procedures,* identify four different tiers with corresponding technical screens. These are:

  • Level 1: Small certified generating, inverter-based facilities 10 kilowatts (kW) or less;
  • Level 2: Certified facilities 2 megawatts (MW) or less;
  • Level 3: Non-exporting, certified facilities 10 MW or less;
  • Level 4: Any generating facility that does not qualify for the

Local Option - Property Assessed Clean Energy

Note: In 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which has authority over mortgage underwriters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, directed these enterprises against purchasing mortgages of homes with a PACE lien due to its senior status above a mortgage. Most residential PACE activity subsided following this directive; however, some residential PACE programs are now operating with loan loss reserve funds, appropriate disclosures, or other protections meant to address FHFA's concerns. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has released initial guidelines for using PACE with FHA-secured single or multifamily properties.

Maine Green Power Program

Legislation enacted in 2009 directed the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to develop a program offering green power as an option to residential and small commercial customers in the state. The PUC issued rules in October 2010 and issued an RFP. The PUC selected a company, 3 Degrees Group, Inc., to manage the statewide green power program for Maine, which launched in April 2012. 

The program purchases renewable energy certificates from qualified Maine renewable resources on behalf of Green Power customers. The program seeks to obtain 25% of its power from Maine Class I renewable energy projects that have been

Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code

Much of the information presented in this summary is drawn from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Energy Codes Program and the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP). For more detailed information about building energy codes, visit the DOE and BCAP websites.

The Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code includes the statewide minimum requirements that all new construction and additions to existing buildings must satisfy. Exceptions include log homes, manufactured housing, post and beam or timber frame construction, and warehouses or silos used to store crops. The commercial requirements apply to all new commercial and institutional construction. 

Legislation enacted in

Model Wind Energy Facility Ordinance

Note: This model ordinance was designed to provide guidance to local governments that wish to develop their own siting rules for wind turbines. While it was developed as part of a cooperative effort involving several state agencies, the model itself has no legal or regulatory authority.

In 2008, the Governor's Task Force on Wind Power Development issued its final report. One of the Task Force's recommendations was that the State Planning Office (SPO) develop a model wind ordinance for use by local governments to help facilitate wind development in the state. The SPO completed the model wind ordinance in August

Renewable Portfolio Standard

Maine's original Renewable Resource Portfolio Requirement was passed as part of the state's 1997 electric utility restructuring law.  In 1999, Maine's Public Utility Commission (PUC) adopted rules requiring each electricity provider to supply at least 30% of their total electric sales using electricity generated from eligible renewable and certain energy efficiency resources. At the time of passage, the required percentage of renewable energy was actually lower than the existing percentage supplied.

Eligible Technologies

Eligible facilities include those up to 100 megawatts (MW) in capacity that use fuel cells, tidal, solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, biomass, or municipal solid waste in conjunction with

Solar Easements

Maine allows for the creation of easements to ensure access to direct sunlight. Instruments creating a solar easement may include, but are not limited to, a description of the space affected by the easement; any terms or conditions under which the solar easement is granted or will be terminated; and a map showing the affected properties and the area protected by the easement. Solar easements must be created and will be recorded and indexed in the same way as other conveyances of real property interests.

Solar Rights

Maine law requires that any municipal ordinance, bylaw, or regulation adopted after September 30, 2009 regulating solar energy devices on residential property follow certain requirements. The rules, bylaws, and regulations of homeowner associations (HOAs) must also follow these requirements. Specifically, these legal instruments may not prohibit a person from installing or using a solar energy device (including a clothesline or drying rack) on residential property owned by that person. In the case of a leased/rented property, the policy protects the renter's right to use a clothesline or drying rack.

Ordinances, bylaws, or regulations may reasonably restrict the installation and use