Efficiency Maine - Solar and Wind Energy Rebate Program


Description:

Incentive Type: State Rebate Program

Eligible Renewable/Other technologies: Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind

Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Non-profit, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Fed. Government, Agricultural, Institutional

Amount:PV: $2/W, Solar thermal: 25%, Wind Energy Systems: $1/W

Maximum Incentive: PV systems: $2,000, Solar Thermal Systems: 25% or $1,000 whichever is less, Wind energy systems: Residential $2,000 Commercial $4,000

Eligible System Size: PV systems: 100kW maximum, Wind: 100kW maximum

Installation Requirements: PV installers must be a Master Electrician's and be NABCEP certified or working with someone who is NABCEP certified. Solar thermal water systems installers must be certified by the PUC and must hold a state license as a Master Plumber, a Master Oil Burner Technician, or a Propane and Natural Gas Technician, or who is U.S. EPA-approved as a Type II, Type III or Universal HVAC Technician. Solar-thermal systems that heat potable water must be installed under the auspices of a Master Plumber. Wind energy systems must be grid-tied and installed by a factory trained and approved dealer for the system and working under the supervision of a Master Electrician.

Summary:

Efficiency Maine is accepting rebate reservations at this time for all three technologies eligible under the program. Once a reservation is approved for funding, the applicant has 120 days to complete the project. Funding is not guaranteed and is on a first come, first served basis. 

Solar Photovoltaics
An owner or tenant who purchases a photovoltaic (PV) system qualifies for a rebate of $2 per watt (AC), with a maximum incentive of $2,000. PV systems must be installed by a Master Electrician who is NABCEP-certified or by a Master Electrician working with a NABCEP-certified installer. An energy audit is required in order to qualify for a rebate for a PV system. See the program web site for a list of participating auditors. 

Solar Thermal
An owner or tenant who purchases a solar-thermal system (for heating water or space) qualifies for a rebate that varies by the application and efficiency of a building:

  • Residential systems: lesser of 25% of project cost or $1,000;
  • Residential systems for new Energy Star homes and homes improved under the Maine Home Energy Savings Program: lesser of 25% of project cost or $1,500;
  • Commercial systems: lesser of 25% of project cost or $1,000

Only solar water-heating systems installers listed by Efficiency Maine as approved installers will be accepted.  

Wind
For residential wind-energy systems, the rebate is $1 per watt (W) up to 2,000 W, not to exceed $2,000. For non-residential wind-energy systems, the rebate amount is $1 per 1 W up to 4,000 W, not to exceed $4,000. To qualify, wind-energy systems must be installed by a licensed master electrician and must meet siting requirements.

The rebate program has been historically funded by an assessment on the state's transmission and distribution utilities. A total of $500,000 in funding has been available for rebates annually. Of this sum, the Public Utilities Commission has allocated 60% to rebates for solar-thermal systems, 20% to rebates for PV systems, and 20% to rebates for wind-energy systems. During fiscal years 2009-10 and 2010-11, this rebate program was increased by $500,000 per year with money allocated from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.


History

In June 2005, Maine enacted legislation (L.D. 1586) creating a rebate program for photovoltaic (PV) systems and solar-thermal systems installed at homes or businesses. Legislation enacted in April 2008 (L.D. 2283) extended the program to grid-tied wind-energy systems installed after January 1, 2009. The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) developed rules to implement the program. Legislation enacted in May 2009 (L.D. 220)* required the PUC to amend the rules in order to create performance standards for solar and wind energy systems and to require applicants to calculate a simple payback period as part of the application process. In September 2009, Maine passed a large energy bill called the "Act Regarding Maine's Energy Future" (H.P. 1038). This legislation transfers all of the funding and programs over to the Efficiency Maine Trust. Legislation enacted in June 2011 fixes a legislative glitch with the rebate program (a result of the Act Regarding Maine's Energy Future, the program was allowed to sunset on December 31, 2010).


* Rebates for PV and solar-thermal installations were unavailable for 2009. However, the governor signed legislation (L.D. 220) in early May 2009 directing the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to utilize funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to increase this rebate program by $500,000 per fiscal years 2009-10 and 2010-11.

** Resolution Chapter 152 (LD 1556) signed in March 2010 requires the PUC to study the installation requirements and provide recommendations to the Joint Standing Committee on Utilities and Energy within Maine's legislature for possible amendment.