Solar power has emerged as a promising alternative to traditional sources of energy, offering numerous benefits such as reduced electricity bills and decreased carbon emissions. However, many residents in Maine are still unsure about the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of solar power in the state. In this blog post, we will delve into the specifics of the cost of solar power in Maine and evaluate whether going solar is a worthwhile investment.
Nationally, Maine ranks 28th out of the fifty states in terms of installations, growth projection and ranking, price, total solar investment, percentage of electricity generated from solar, and number of homes powered by solar. Sitting only a few spots under Rhode Island!
Below, we see in this bar graph that a large portion of solar panel installations are community solar projects. But, it is important to note that over the last three years, the demand for solar panel installations in Maine has increased steadily.
Understanding the Value & Sizing of Solar
It is important for homeowners to understand what they are truly getting for their money when investing in solar. The financial value is not just the panels they are getting, it’s really about what the panels can produce. Specifically, a homeowner is buying the kilowatt hours (kW hours) of electricity the panels will generate; kW hours that will replace some – or all – of the energy the owner would otherwise have to buy from the utility. In short, a solar buyer is buying their own little energy plant.
But how big should that energy plant be? Well, obviously that is based on the number of kW hours needed. But in the strictest terms, we measure the size of a system in kilowatts. We use kilowatts because they are a measure of power. Whereas kW hours, as noted before, are a measure of energy. If a system is installed in a place with very little shade a given number of kilowatts of power can produce more kW hours than the same system located in a slightly shaded location. Hence why it is always best to put solar panels in the sunniest place available.
Understanding the Price of Solar
So the size of a solar system is measured in watts or kilowatts – its power. But what it produces is measured in kilowatt hours – the energy it produces. Or looked at another way, the number of watts dictates the size or cost of a system, while the number of kilowatt hours it can produce dictates its value or financial return.
How is that measured in real terms? As of December 2023, the average cost of a solar panel installation in Maine is generally anywhere from $2.98 per watt to $4.04 per watt. This means a solar panel system the size of 5-6 kilowatts (kW) hours would range anywhere in total price from $14,900 to $24,240. That’s before any incentives, such as the Federal Investment Tax Credit, which will reduce the cost of the system for most people by 30%. As for the payback part of the equation, the number of kW hours you get from any sized system will be determined, as noted above, by its location and the amount of sun it receives throughout the year. But that is a number that a quality installer can model for you.
What is Factored into this Price?
The overall cost of your new PV system consists of several components. Not only are you paying for your ability to harness energy from the sun but you’re paying for all the parts that go into it. And perhaps most importantly, since it is the biggest variable, is also who you pick as your installer. That’s because while there isn’t much variability from one installer to another in terms of the equipment they offer, there is often great deal of variability in the work they do.
Your installer will handle getting you an engineering review (is it safe to put panels on your roof?), acquire the required local building and electrical permits, getting your utility approvals, and then completing the install in a way that’ll ensure your system lasts 25 plus years. Last, they will get all your final approvals and the utility’s permission to turn the system on the system. The best system is the system that looks great and will stand up to the test of time.
We Install in Maine!
We at New England Clean Energy would be proud to install your Maine solar panel systems. Head on over to our website to get a free quote or by calling our toll-free number at 877-886-8867.
While the cost of solar power in Maine may appear daunting initially, it is vital to view it as a long-term investment rather than a short-term expense. In most cases, you can look at it as a “repurposing” of your electric bill. Instead of paying the utility, turn it into a bill that never gets higher and, in most cases, eventually goes away all together.
The combination of technological advancements, falling equipment costs, and financial incentives make solar power a viable and economically sensible option in the state. By evaluating the initial costs, long-term savings, financing options, and available incentives, homeowners can make an informed decision about whether to embrace solar power.
Transitioning to solar energy not only reduces reliance on fossil fuels but also contributes to a greener and more sustainable future for Maine. Conduct thorough research, consult with solar providers, and assess your individual circumstances to determine whether investing in solar power is the right choice for your home.