Governor John Baldacci switches the power on a solar panel that will generate electricity in the state house in 2005 to announce his Solar Panel Rebate Program. Photo by Ramona du Houx

By Ramona du Houx

July 6, 2009

The Maine Public Utilities Commission announced that it has re-opened the program, Gov. Baldacci started, that provides cash rebates for the installation of qualifying solar energy systems on Maine homes and small businesses.

“We are delighted to be able to respond to the high demand for this program,” said Sharon M. Reishus, commission chair. “Solar power on homes and small businesses is part of the solution to our energy challenges. In addition, this program will generate some welcome economic activity in the state.”

New federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, together with another year’s funding from existing state sources, have enabled the commission to begin accepting applications for the rebates as the installation season begins.

Residential and commercial thermal incentives are set at 25 percent of the cost of a qualifying system, with a cap of $1,000. The incentive for photo-voltaic systems is $2 per watt, with a cap of $2,000.

To protect customers, the commission requires that they “reserve” their rebates before installation. An advance reservation ensures that customers who purchase a system know in advance that their rebate will be there for them after installation is complete.

To be eligible, the installation must be performed by a professional certified by the MPUC. Applications and further instructions are available through Efficiency Maine online at efficiencymaine.com.