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Add State and Local Incentives to the 30% Federal Tax Credit
Learn about solar incentives and solar rebates. Find out what is available to you through federal, state and local programs, as well as local utilities.
State and Local Solar Panel Rebates
Combining the Federal tax credit with state incentives you qualify for may significantly reduce the cost of your solar PV system.

Read more good news about these programs and important tips on qualifying below.
Federal Solar Tax Credit
30% of the cost of your Solar Electric System and installation can be deducted from your federal tax bill.

Read more about this credit and what qualifies.





Solar Incentives by State… Click on your state to see what is available.    
Solar States


— You may be able to afford a larger solar PV system than you originally thought!
— You may be able to add the battery backup system you were planning to buy in a year or two



The Good News About Solar System Incentives, Qualifications and Tips
Some solar incentive programs pay you back over time, based on the energy you generate. Other solar incentives are one-time payments of rebates or credits. Incentive requirements and definitions may vary between states.

Incentive types can be specifically for residential, schools, business, or industrial; or inclusive of all of them. Solar incentives are mainly for grid tied systems and are sometimes available for off grid systems.

The incentives may be only for solar photovoltaic (electric), for electricity generated by wind, or for solar thermal (hot water generation). Other types of incentives may incorporate multiple solar technologies.

Programs with yearly or periodic application dates have credits or rebate rates that may be stepped down over time.

To qualify for incentives, your solar system may have to be installed by a licensed Photovoltaic System Installer, and/or connected to the grid by a licensed Electrician. This may be particularly true for Grid-Tie (Grid-Intertied) systems.
Plan ahead and act quickly. Many incentive programs are time sensitive. First-come-first-served programs, such as lotteries, can be spoken for in minutes after the opening of their application date.

Be careful including incentives in your PV system's budget due to requirements and possible deadlines to meet before qualifying.

Always consult a tax professional in regards to your eligibility for tax incentives.





Solar Incentive Glossary
Battery Backup Systems
Battery backup systems can store electricity from the grid or a fuel-powered generator to provide emergency power when the grid goes down. It can also store energy created PV system to power appliances and lights at night after the sun goes down.

Feed in Tariffs,
a Performance Based Incentive, or PBI

(Available for Grid Tied Systems.)
Feed-in Tariffs are typically long term contracts with your local utility for performance-based compensation.

The contracts are typically a 15-25 year purchase agreement at a guaranteed rate. The rate may decrease over time as specified in the agreement. Feed-in Tariffs may ultimately pay for your PV system or even exceed your initial investment depending on the specifics in the contract.

Originally started in Germany in 1990 and restructured in 2000 to include the right to interconnect to the utility grid. It was designed as an incentive to promote cost-effective renewable energy use and advancements in technologies. Due to its success, the current German policy is the cornerstone for the creation of many feed-in tariff programs around the globe.

Green Building Programs
(May be available for Off-grid and/or Grid-tied Systems.)
Green Building Programs are generally for new construction and remodeling, or just adding a solar electric system. The most common incentives are reductions or waivers of building permit fees. Some state or local organizations offer coupons that reduce construction and/or installation costs to homeowners. The home or business owner usually gives the coupon to their program-authorized installer/contractor. Once the system is installed the installer/contractor can be reimbursed for the amount of the coupon by the program's organization.

Grid-Tied PV Systems
Grid tied systems are inter-connected to send energy back to the grid when your solar electric system creates more than you're using; and you can receive energy from the grid when you're using more electricity than your system is generating at the moment. Learn more about grid-tied solar systems.

Loans
(May be available for Off-grid and/or Grid-tied Systems.)
State or local governments may offer low or zero interest loans for renewable energy projects. Terms are typically 10 years or less. If you are going to purchase or remodel a home that you are going to add a solar system to you may also want to see the Energy Star website for information on Energy Improvement Mortgages (EIMs).

Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing may be offered by states that have been authorized to participate in this program. The amount of the loan is determined by a special assessment of your property and is typically repaid over a period of years.

Check with your local banks and credit unions as they may offer renewable energy loans for less than the prime rate. Also consider that mortgage loans and home equity loans can offer several advantages: longer terms, lower interest rates than conventional bank loans, and tax-deductible interest.
Net Metering
(Available for Grid Tied Systems.)
As of January 2012, only four states do not have net metering policies ‐ South Dakota, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. These programs are for utility customers who generate their own electricity and feed excess energy back into the grid. Net-metered customers may use grid energy when their electrical demand exceeds their solar electric system's output. Solar electric credit rates are applied to the customer's total electric use and are shown on the utility bills.

The credit rates and rules vary from state to state. Unused solar electric system credits may expire in a specified time period or they may be carried over from year to year. The credits may only be applied to the utility bill or you may be allowed to get a refund check at the end of a designated period, usually the end of the year.

Off-Grid PV Systems
Off grid systems do not feed energy back to the grid. You may be completely independent from the grid or you may be receiving grid electricity to supplement your system (Grid-Assisted). Learn more about off-grid solar systems.

Solar PV System (Photovoltaics)
A solar PV system uses photovoltaic panels (or modules) to create electricity. This powers appliances, lights, and other electric equipment.

Solar Thermal System
A solar thermal system uses panels (or modules) to heat water. The hot water is typically used instead of a water heater for everyday water use, or in a radiant heating system to warm the air.

State and Local Tax Incentives
(May be available for Off-grid and/or Grid-tied Systems.)
  • Personal tax incentives include income tax credits (dollar-for-dollar reduction on what you owe) and income tax deductions (reduces your taxable income).
  • Property tax exemptions, exclusions and credit incentives generally exclude the added value of the system from your yearly property tax. Abatements may reduce a percentage of your yearly property tax over time.
  • State sales tax incentives can be an exemption from or a credit towards the applicable sales tax.
Utility Rate Discounts & Rebates
(Available for Grid Tied Systems.)
Some utilities and state or local programs may offer temporarily reduced rates on utility bills, or one time rebates on the installation of solar systems and purchases of energy efficient appliances and/or HVAC systems.


Updated: 11/26/2016
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Maine Solar Incentives
Updated: 11/26/2016
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INCENTIVE NAME: Solar Easements
CATEGORY: Regulatory Policy
TYPE: Solar/Wind Access Policy
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: ME03R
LAST UPDATE: 12/01/2015

INCENTIVE NAME: Efficiency Maine Trust - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Resource Fund
CATEGORY: Regulatory Policy
TYPE: Public Benefits Fund
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
SOURCE: Voluntary contributions and alternative compliance payments
CODE: ME07R
DETAILS:
Types - Renewable energy and energy efficiency; primarily demonstration projects
Total Fund - ~$100,000 for FY 2015
Charge - None (contributions are voluntary)
BUDGET: ~$100,000 per year
WEBSITE: http://www.efficiencymaine.com/
LAST UPDATE: 10/09/2015

INCENTIVE NAME: Net Energy Billing
CATEGORY: Regulatory Policy
TYPE: Net Metering
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: ME02R
DETAILS:
Applicable Utilities - All utilities
System Capacity Limit - 660 kW for IOU customers; 100 kW for muni and co-op customers (munis and co-ops may voluntarily offer net energy billing for systems up to 660 kW)
Aggregate Capacity Limit - No limit specified
Net Excess Generation - Credited to customer's next bill at retail rate; granted to utility at end of 12-month billing cycle
Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits - Not addressed
Meter Aggregation - Allowed
LAST UPDATE: 07/10/2015

INCENTIVE NAME: Renewable Portfolio Standard
CATEGORY: Regulatory Policy
TYPE: Renewables Portfolio Standard
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: ME01R
DETAILS:
Standard - Total: 40% by 2017
Class I (New Resources): 10% by 2017

Technology Minimum - No
Compliance Multipliers - 1.5 multiplier for qualifying community-based renewable energy projects
Credit Trading/Tracking System - Yes (NEPOOL-GIS)
Alternative Compliance Payment - $67.07 (2015 ACP)
WEBSITE: http://www.maine.gov/energy/initiatives/efficiency_renewable.html
LAST UPDATE: 10/02/2015

INCENTIVE NAME: Green Power Purchasing
CATEGORY: Regulatory Policy
TYPE: Green Power Purchasing
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: ME08R
DETAILS:
Renewables % or Amount - 100%
LAST UPDATE: 10/02/2015

INCENTIVE NAME: Energy-Efficient Building Standards for State Facilities
CATEGORY: Regulatory Policy
TYPE: Energy Standards for Public Buildings
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: ME09R
DETAILS:
Energy Reduction Goal/Requirement - For new construction and substantially renovated buildings, the energy use target should exceed standards in place for commercial and industrial buildings by 20%
Green Building Requirement - Construction and renovation projects must incorporate cost-effective green building standards
LAST UPDATE: 07/23/2015

INCENTIVE NAME: Solar Rights
CATEGORY: Regulatory Policy
TYPE: Solar/Wind Access Policy
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: ME12R
LAST UPDATE: 12/01/2015

INCENTIVE NAME: Community-Based Renewable Energy Production Incentive (Pilot Program)
CATEGORY: Financial Incentive
TYPE: Performance-Based Incentive
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: ME13F
DETAILS:
Incentive Amount - Choice of either 1.5 REC credit multiplier; or
Small projects (1 MW DC or less): $0.10/kWh for solar, wind, hydro projects; to be determined on a case by case basis for other eligible renewable energy projects.
Large projects (>1 MW DC): Depends on the result of the bid process.
Maximum Incentive - $0.10/kWh or the cost of the project, whichever is lower.
Terms - Long-term contract (up to 20 years) for energy, capacity resources, and/or renewable energy credits
Eligible System Size - Maximum system size of 10 MW DC
Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits - Community-based generator
WEBSITE: http://www.state.me.us/mpuc/electricity/community_pilot.shtml
LAST UPDATE: 06/05/2015

INCENTIVE NAME: Maine Green Power Program
CATEGORY: Regulatory Policy
TYPE: Mandatory Utility Green Power Option
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: ME14R
WEBSITE: http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/greenpower/
LAST UPDATE: 07/10/2015

INCENTIVE NAME: Interconnection Standards
CATEGORY: Regulatory Policy
TYPE: Interconnection
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: ME15R
DETAILS:
Applicable Utilities - Transmission and distribution utilities
System Capacity Limit - No limit specified
Standard Agreement - Varies by system size
Insurance Requirements - Not required for inverter-based systems up to 1 MW; vary by system size and/or type for other systems
External Disconnect Switch - Not required
Net Metering Required - No
LAST UPDATE: 10/14/2015

INCENTIVE NAME: Local Option - Property Assessed Clean Energy
CATEGORY: Financial Incentive
TYPE: PACE Financing
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
CODE: ME18F
DETAILS:
Terms - Residential PACE mortgage maximum: $15,000
WEBSITE: http://www.efficiencymaine.com/at-home/energy-loans/
LAST UPDATE: 10/06/2015

INCENTIVE NAME: Maine PACE Loans
CATEGORY: Financial Incentive
TYPE: PACE Financing
SECTOR: State
TECHNOLOGY: Solar Photovoltaics,
SOURCE: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)
CODE: ME20F
DETAILS:
Terms - Loan amount: $6,500 to $15,000
Term length: Up to 15 years
Interest rate: 4.99% (fixed)
BUDGET: $30 million
WEBSITE: http://www.efficiencymaine.com/at-home/energy-loans/
LAST UPDATE: 10/06/2015