Maine electricity prices average $0.16/kWh, halfway between the New England average of $0.18/kWh and the national average of $0.14/kWh.
In 2019, almost ⅓ of Maine’s net generation came from hydroelectric dams, roughly ¼ from wind turbines, ¼ from biomass generators, and ⅙ from natural gas. Less than 2% of Maine’s power was produced using petroleum, coal, and solar combined. To meet consumption demands, Maine has to import more than ¼ of its power from Canada. Despite its emphasis on renewables, Maine relies heavily on petroleum for heating and transportation, making it one of the most petroleum-dependent states in the country.
Maine is a hotbed of innovation in industrial-scale renewable energy. Amont others, it is home to the Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) and Maine Aqua Ventus. It is also home to bluShift Aerospace, the first rocket company to use a bio-derived fuel.
Maine is in the 25th percentile of US states for per capita residential electricity sales volume. Over a tenth of all Maine households use wood for heating, and only 1 in 14 households use electricity for primary heating. Low general power use, low consumption of fossil fuels (even if the per-capita consumption is high), and high rates of forest cover give Maine some of the lowest carbon emissions of any state.
The average cost of a 5kW solar system starts around $19,000. (This is equivalent to saving almost 100 trees a year!) Before any incentives, in the first year you’d save about $950, compared to if you had been paying the normal rates for the energy you used. These savings can continue for well over 25 years, improving with inflation.
This depends on may factors such as your system size, power output, and financing. Here are the main ways you can finance your home solar power system, and the kinds of returns you may expect to see:
From our example above, the homeowner purchased a 5kW system to offset their energy bill. Overhead cost was $18,750, with a significant proportion returned in the first year through incentives, rebates, and savings, yielding a Net Present Value of $1,500 over 25 years.
Most solar power systems have a warranty lifetime of 25 years. Solar panel power output falls on average 0.8% per year, so with a little TLC and load management you can extend the life of your system well beyond the warranty’s expiration date, continuing to save indefinitely. Even with occasional maintenance or part replacement, that is a massive savings.
Whether or not you can afford the up-front cost of the install, you may want to consider a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). With equity in your home, or good credit, you may qualify for a 15-year solar HELOC with fixed rate of 4% or lower.
Starting with that same 5kW system costing $18,750 but with no up-front cost, accounting for incentives, credits, rebates, and annual energy savings of just under $1,000, you could see a revenue surplus of about $5,000 at the end of the first year. Save that money though. Your loan payments will likely exceed your power savings by about $60/month for the 15-year term.
Once the loan is paid off, you can expect to save about $1,200 a year. Over 25 years you could expect to make about $9,000.
Maine does not allow Power Purchase Agreements.
Data from DSIRE. For more info visit: https://www.dsireusa.org/
|Name||Implementing Sector||Program Type||Administrator||DSIRE ID|
|Solar Easements||State||Solar/Wind Access Policy||12|
|Distributed Generation Buy-All, Sell-All Program||State||Net Metering||280|
|Solar Contractor Licensing and Training||State||Solar/Wind Contractor Licensing||321|
|Solar Energy Equipment Warranties||State||Equipment Certification||443|
|Green Power Purchasing||State||Green Power Purchasing||899|
|Renewable Fuel Excise Tax Exemption||State||Corporate Tax Exemption||Maine Revenue Services||961|
|Energy-Efficient Building Standards for State Facilities||State||Energy Standards for Public Buildings||1799|
|Solar Rights||State||Solar/Wind Access Policy||3455|
|Energy Efficiency Targets||State||Energy Efficiency Resource Standard||4728|
|Efficiency Maine Multifamily Efficiency Program||State||Rebate Program||Efficiency Maine||5287|
|Efficiency Maine Residential Home Energy Savings Program||State||Rebate Program||Efficiency Maine Trust||5442|
|Efficiency Maine - Efficiency Maine Program Allies||State||Other||Efficiency Maine||16279|
|Unitil - Energy Saving Tips||Utility||Training and Information||Unitil||16294|
|Central Maine Power Company - Outdoor Lighting||Utility||Other||Central Maine Power Company||17247|
|Central Maine Power Company - Interval Usage Web||Utility||Energy Analysis||17248|
|Efficiency Maine - Professional Training Program||State||Training and Information||Efficiency Maine||17736|
|Unitil - Small Business Energy Efficiency Services (MA and NH)||Utility||Energy Analysis||Unitil||19004|
|U.S. Department of Energy - Industrial Assessment Center (IAC): University of Massachusetts||Federal||Energy Analysis||U.S. Department of Energy||21568|
|ISO New England - Demand Resources||Other||Energy Analysis||ISO New England||21569|
|BOC - Building Operator Certification – Northeast||Other||Training and Information||Bonneville Power Administration||21573|
|Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships - EM&V Forum||Non-Profit||Training and Information||Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships||22021|
|Efficiency Maine - Home Energy Loans||State||Loan Program||Efficiency Maine Trust||22046|