How Solar Power Works in Maine
It may not seem it in the midst of a Nor’easter, but Maine actually receives quite an incredible amount of solar energy each year – in fact, a full 33% more sunshine than Germany, the world leader in solar energy adoption. Our climate may be cold, but cold is actually good for solar panels. In the brisk but sunny fall and spring, solar panels in Maine will produce a disproportionately high amount of power, helping to make up for any power loss due to solar panels covered in snow.
Mainers going solar have a few options, the most popular is a grid-tied solar electric array. ‘Grid-tied’ means that the system will connect to the public utility grid, providing reliable backup power for when there is insufficient sun to power your home, such as at night or on cloudy days.
Conversely, a grid-tied system also sells excess power to the grid, meaning, when it is sunny and your system is producing more solar power than you can use, you’ll send the power back to the public grid, powering your neighbor’s house and earning you a credit. The solar credits you earn can be used against future power consumption from the grid.
Most of the systems we design will meet close to 100% of a home’s needs in a given year. In the summer, you will tend to produce more power than you need and you will earn a credit. In the winter, you will tend to need more power than you produce and so you’ll consume those solar credits. At the end of the year, you should be at or close to zero credits in the solar bank, a situation we call ‘net-zero’ (not to be confused with ‘off-grid,’ which means not using the utility grid at all!).
So, why go solar in Maine?
There are so many reasons to transition to solar power (we explore in great detail the top ten reasons here). However, we'll keep it brief:
- Solar Is An Abundant ResourceMaine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts’s solar resource is a full 33% greater than Germany, a world leader in solar. And it's not going anywhere.
- Solar Lowers your Energy Costs & Locks in your Electricity Rate for YearsEven with a big initial investment, going solar reduces your electric bill, saving you money for years to come and keeps you safe from spiking electric costs.
- Solar Is a Strong Investment & Adds Value to Your Home or Business Considering significantly reduced equipment costs and reliable performance, the average return on investment of solar energy ranges from 8% to 12% per year.
- Solar Does it All: Heat & Cool Your Home and be Stored for Backup PowerA lower electric bill is just the beginning. Thanks to continued innovation, solar can be stored in batteries, heat and cool your space, and even power your car.
- Solar is an Environmental Solution to Humanity's Biggest ProblemArguably the most important reason for going solar: ensuring a livable future for our kids and grandkids. The costs of the climate crisis are real and daunting, and solar is the most promising technology for transitioning to a clean energy economy.
What Maine solar incentives are available?
Recent pushes to develop Maine’s solar industry and expand installations resulted in numerous incentive programs that make going solar in Maine more cost efficient and beneficial than ever before! In addition to net-metering, homeowners and businesses can take advantage of the federal solar tax credit, which is currently available at 30%. Learn more on our guide.