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Maine may not be the first place you think of for solar panels, but the state sees an average of 203 sunny days a year. Since solar energy was first developed in 1883, solar panels have become a popular source of providing energy for homeowners.
Luckily, the challenges facing the solar industry have not deterred Maine homeowners who have found solar panels to be a good investment. Residents who installed solar panels have been able to increase the value of their homes, achieve energy independence, and lower their energy costs. Many residents even add solar panels to their RVs.
Maine solar panel cost
As people across the country look into ways to take advantage of green energy, solar panels in Maine have become one method to achieve that goal. So, how much do you stand to save when using solar energy in Maine?
The cost of solar panels in Maine is measured by the number of dollars per watt. On average, a residential solar panel system can cost between $3 and $5 per watt, making the total average cost between $15,000 and $25,000. However, when you account for federal and Maine solar incentives and rebates, the overall price can be several thousand dollars less.
When calculating the cost of the best solar panels for you, consider the brand, the solar panel installation process, and the condition of your roof. A roof that needs repairs before panels are installed will cost more. The great news is that solar panels have dropped in price by over 70 percent during the past decade. This cost reduction has also lowered the average payback period for a system, so it now takes from six to nine years to recoup your investment.
Why choose Maine solar power?
Lower energy costs
A prime motivating factor for installing solar panels in Maine is to reduce energy costs. Other residents want to save energy by going solar or simply cut down on their reliance on the nation’s electrical grid. You may only have to tap into the grid on overcast days when your solar panels don’t capture enough energy to power your house. A study by North Carolina State University found the average monthly savings for homeowners with solar panels is between $44 and $187 a month.
If you add solar batteries to your system, you may have complete energy independence from the electrical grid. The best solar batteries can store the excess energy your panels produce on sunny days, allowing you to use that power on overcast days when your panels may not collect enough energy. Solar batteries can also prevent you from being affected by potential rolling brownouts during energy shortages.
Solar power is a renewable energy source. The use of solar panels can cut down on your carbon footprint and harmful emissions created by other energy sources.
Maine solar panel incentives or rebates
Tax credits and other incentives offered by the federal government and Maine offset some of the expense of solar panels.
The U.S. government offers homeowners a 26% solar tax credit through 2022 for installing solar panels on their primary or secondary residence. Based on the cost of your panels, a 26% credit could end up netting you between $3,900 and $6,500. This federal tax credit could help reduce the overall cost for your solar panels to between $11,000 to $18,500. However, this credit expires at the beginning of 2024. Although Congress may extend the credit, we recommend purchase solar panels sooner rather than later to ensure these savings.
Maine offers a property tax exemption on solar panels so that homeowners do not have to pay more in taxes if the solar panels increase their home’s value.
Should I buy or lease my solar panels?
Over the long term, homeowners will save more money by buying solar panels instead of leasing them. Adding solar panels to your property could increase its value by $15,000. According to an Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy study, homes with solar panels sell at a premium.
However, if you can’t afford the upfront costs of solar panels, you can still achieve energy savings through a solar lease or solar power purchase agreement (PPA). You pay the leasing company a set monthly rate and enjoy less expensive energy bills. But you are not eligible for tax credits when you lease the solar panels. A third option for getting home solar, known as a solar power purchase agreement, is when a company pays for installation and maintenance for the solar panels on your home, and you pay them a reduced rate for the kWh of energy that you consume.
An additional leasing option is community solar programs, in which multiple households use the same solar panel system. These programs are suitable for multi-family buildings, renters of single-family homes, and places where the HOA doesn’t allow solar panels.
The history of solar power in Maine
The state of Maine ranks 36th in the country for solar power. As of May 2021, Maine had generated about 25 megawatts (MW) year-to-date. Maine has close to 3,000 solar installations that are capable of providing power to more than 44,000 homes. Over the next five years, Maine is expected to increase its solar energy production by more than 1,500 MW. However, compared to the top 10 solar states, which generated from 5,914 to 447 (MW) of energy in May 2021, Maine still has a lot of room to grow in terms of solar energy production.
Important solar installation factors to consider
When evaluating your ability to install solar panels on your roof, there are several factors you’ll want to consider.
- Roof — Most roofs last 20 years, while most solar panels can last 25. So, if you have an older roof that may not last as long as the solar panels or a roof with some damage, you may want to repair or replace it. According to the Energy.gov Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar, the slope of your roof is also an essential factor, as solar panels are more effective when placed on roofs with a pitch between 15 and 40 degrees. The panels should face south, as that is the direction that will make them most effective.
- Sunshine — It’s no secret that solar panels need a lot of sun to be effective. If trees provide shade to your roof, your solar panels may not capture energy as efficiently.
- HOA or community rules — Before installing solar panels, make sure they’re permitted by your development’s HOA or community rules.
Solar power FAQ
How much would solar cost in Maine?
The cost of solar panels in Maine can run from $15,000 to $25,000 as the price is typically $3 to $5 per watt. With incentives and rebates, the cost may end up being in the range of $11,100 to $18,500.
Is solar power a good investment in Maine?
Solar power in Maine can be an excellent investment. Solar panels can save money on your monthly energy bill and increase your property value. Your location and energy consumption habits, along with weather patterns, may factor in your decision.
How much could I save by investing in solar?
Maine homeowners typically see a savings of $885 per year. Your energy usage and the amount of sun you receive can affect your solar panel return on investment.
Where can I find a good solar panel installer in Maine?
There are about 25 companies in Maine that install solar panels, so you’ll want to research these companies before making your selection. SaveOnEnergy can help you with this process. You can start by reviewing our comprehensive solar energy guide. This guide can provide you with an understanding of the industry to accurately review each available installer.
How does solar power help the environment?
Solar energy is a renewable form of clean energy. The energy produced by solar panels does not emit carbon into the atmosphere, so with your switch to solar power, you’ll be able to reduce your carbon footprint.