Like many states, Maine has seen a considerable increase in solar energy production over the past several years. Many homeowners in Maine have been installing solar panels on their homes and reaping financial and environmental benefits.
If you live in Maine, you may find yourself asking one question: Is solar worth it? In this article, we’ll explore the costs and benefits of solar panels and a few other must-know details before installing solar panels on your home.
Cost of solar panels in Maine
Various factors affect the cost of solar panels. The components, size of your solar system, configuration, and labor and permitting fees can all influence the total cost.
You should expect to pay between $3 and $5 per watt for the average residential solar system. The average 5-kW system is likely to be a $15,000 to $25,000 out-of-pocket cost before any rebates and tax credits.
Solar panel setup
One of the factors that determines the price of your home solar panel system is the components in it. Some of the features you can expect to find in your home solar system include:
- Solar panels: The central part of your solar system, the solar panels are what actually capture the sunlight that powers your home. Solar panels can be monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film.
- Solar cell: Once your solar panels capture the sunlight, the solar cell in your system takes the energy from your panels and converts it into electricity.
- Inverter: The purpose of a solar panel inverter is to take the direct current (DC) power from your solar cell and convert it into alternating current (AC) power, which is needed to power your home’s appliances.
- Batteries: Once you generate electricity with your solar panels, you can store the excess in your batteries to either use when the sun isn’t shining or if there is a short-term power outage in your area.
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Solar incentives and rebates in Maine
Let’s face it: solar panels are expensive. The great news is that financial incentives are in place to assist with the cost responsibility for Maine residents.
First, Maine residents can take advantage of the solar federal tax credit that allows you to claim up to 26% of the cost of your solar panels. The state of Maine also has a few initiatives in place, including:
- PACE loans: Maine residents can qualify for a PACE loan, which helps them purchase a solar energy system with no down payment.
- Community solar: Maine has enacted policies to encourage community solar programs, which allow people to take advantage of solar panels without buying them.
- Net metering: Maine’s net-metering policy lets residents get credits for the extra electricity they produce with their solar panels.
Solar energy in Maine may help lower your electric bills
A key benefit of installing solar panels on your home is the money you can save on your electricity. Luckily, Maine already has some of the lowest energy costs in the nation. Residents pay an average of just $93 per month, or about $1,116 per year. Even though many Maine residents enjoy electricity bills that are below the national average, there is still plenty of room for savings, especially if your household regularly sees above-average energy bills.
As you can see below, a person who spends $15,000 to install a solar system could save $3,900 in the first year from the federal tax credit. In the following years, they could save about $1,116 per year with average energy usage. And this would lead to the homeowner breaking even on the investment in fewer than ten years. Of course, the ROI could be much quicker if your energy bills are above-average.
Example of a solar system in Maine with return on investment (ROI) over time:
|Years to get ROI
|Savings per year after ROI
|Savings five years after ROI
Energy independence in Maine can help you
Installing solar panels on your Maine home can get you closer to reaching energy independence. When you have energy independence, you aren’t as reliant on the traditional electricity grid. But what’s the benefit of that?
First, energy independence can save you money. Not only are you not paying for the electricity that powers your home, but you also aren’t vulnerable to dramatic price hikes. During certain times of the year, electricity prices spike due to higher demand. With solar panels, you don’t have to worry about that.
Another benefit of energy independence is that power outages may affect you less. When there’s a storm or a downed power line, it’s not uncommon for people to lose power in their homes. If you have a solar battery component, you would be able to continue to power your home for a period of time.
How to buy solar panels in Maine
Research is essential before any large purchase, including solar panels. Start by visiting our library of educational resources, where we share information about a variety of energy topics, including solar power and the environment and details about leasing solar panels. Additionally, we have energy experts you can speak to right now by calling the number on your screen.
Before you buy solar panels for your home, consider this: First, it’s essential that you ensure your roof is well-suited to solar panels. Some features that make for effective solar panels include:
- South-facing roofs with slopes between 15 and 40 degrees
- Newer roofs that won’t need to be replaced in the near future
- Roofs that get plenty of sunlight and aren’t shaded by trees or buildings
There are certainly other factors to consider as well, including how long you plan to stay in your home and whether your neighborhood has a homeowners association (HOA) that requires approval before installation.
The future of energy is solar in Maine
Maine was one of the first states to enact solar policies. Their solar legislation dates back to the early 1980s. Since then, the state has continued to make investments in solar power.
So, where does solar power in Maine stand today? In 2021, the state ranked 36th in the nation for solar energy production. Compared to other states, Maine is in the lower half of solar generation by state. However, the state has seen a significant increase over the past several years. Currently, solar energy makes up 1.83% of the state’s total electricity generation, which is enough to power about 50,000 homes.
Solar energy FAQs
What is the life expectancy of solar panels in Maine?
Solar panels warranties usually put peak energy production between 25 and 30 years. However, the life expectancy of your solar panels could be even longer with proper upkeep.
Are there disadvantages to using solar energy in Maine?
There are plenty of benefits to solar power, but it’s also important to talk about the downsides. Solar panel systems are costly to buy and install. Solar is not the right fit for every home, especially if your property doesn’t get a lot of sunlight.
How does solar power help the environment?
Solar power is a form of green energy, meaning it is renewable and doesn’t emit the harmful greenhouse gasses traditional electricity generation does.
Is it better to buy or lease solar panels?
Buying and leasing solar panels both have benefits. Over the long run, however, buying your own solar panels is the most cost-effective option.