There is a lot to learn when making the decision to invest in a renewable energy system for your home or business. Our goal is to guide you through the process of determining if a renewable energy system makes sense for you. We offer a consultative approach with a focus on communicating clearly and providing the information that you need to make an informed decision.
To help guide you on your solar journey, we listed answers to our most frequently asked questions below. As you review, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team directly if more questions arise.
The Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar In Maine
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, Maine receives enough sun to make solar PV effective and affordable. Germany is the world leader in solar installations; Maine receives nearly 20% more sunlight annually than Germany.
Most of our customers install grid-tied PV systems. Grid-tied systems allow for seamless integration with your
- Solar panels convert energy from the sun into Direct Current (DC) electricity.
- That DC electricity travels to an inverter where it is converted into the Alternating Current (AC) electricity used in your home.
- The inverter delivers the AC electricity to your electrical panel, where it is distributed to electrical loads throughout your home.
- Your home uses the solar produced electricity but still has access to electricity from the grid during high demand or at night.
- During the daytime when your system is producing power, any electrical demands in your home are satisfied by the electricity that you produce first.
If your home’s demand is greater than the amount of electricity being produced on the roof (such as during the evening or inclement weather), the electric utility, or grid, will provide the rest.
On the other hand, if your system’s electrical production is greater than your home’s electrical demand, the excess power is sent out on the grid, building up
At the end of your billing period, your electric provider will subtract the energy you put out on the grid from the energy that you imported from the grid and charge you for the difference. This is called net metering.
Net metering is a purchasing agreement between you and the electric utility (Central Maine Power (CMP), for example) that allows you to receive credit for excess energy that your solar array may produce.
Net metering is a simple concept; power created from your solar system is connected to the electric grid and credited in real-time. Any excess power created by the solar system that you are not using, at that moment, is fed back into the power grid.
As this excess power is ‘back-fed’, your meter operates in reverse. CMP subtracts the excess kW hours that you produce from the kW hours that you get from the grid and only charges for only the “net” electricity that you receive from the grid.
Typically, energy credits that are built up during the day are “traded in” at night. Not only are credits built up and “cashed in” on a daily basis, but credits are accrued and credited on a rolling 12-month period, allowing greater summertime electricity production to offset greater wintertime use.
South-facing is best, but solar panels installed facing south-east or south-west can generate a very high percentage (>90%) of energy as compared to
No. There are other options such as ground mount or wall-mounted awning systems. Mounting on a garage, barn, or outbuilding is also an option.
Ground mounts are a good option if your roof is not properly oriented, if your roof is heavily shaded, or if you do not want to install solar panels on your roof.
With a ground mounted system, you may either have fixed panels or trackers, which move on two
At Maine Solar Solutions, our team of experts continually examines our product offering to ensure our customers are receiving the best all-around panels available on the market versus offering only one manufacturer choice at a time.
We select our solar panels based on several factors, such as the manufacturer’s reputation, product availability, quality history, and the company’s financial standing. View more about panel choices here.
During our site evaluation, we will determine how much of your roof is shaded throughout the year. We can factor this into your estimated electricity production.
We offer system designs that work effectively to provide maximum performance from partially shaded arrays.
We assess your roof’s condition as part of our site survey. A typical
Installing a PV array will shade the underlying roof, protecting it from damaging sunlight and weather, possibly extending the roof’s lifespan. If we determine that your roof needs replacement, we can refer you to a trusted roofing contractor.
No. We always use an industry-standard flashed attachment point with our installations, protecting the integrity of your roof and ensuring a waterproof connection.
Most grid-tied systems are designed to shut off automatically during power outages when the grid goes down. When power returns, your system will restart automatically. For customers with a keen interest in investing in a battery-based PV system, we can design and install a grid-tied battery backup that will allow them to power certain electrical loads in your home during a power outage.
For customers with generators, we design a manual or automatic PV system shut-off based on your generator type.
All of the solar panels that we install have power output warrantied for 25+ years (at 80% of the original power output.) The lifespan of a PV array is expected to be greater than 30 years. Inverter warranties range between 10 and 25 years. Maine Solar Solutions offers a 10-year installation warranty.
Grid-tied solar electric systems require very little maintenance. Our grid-tied installations include system monitoring, so you can watch output information and alerts in case there is a problem.
Typical residential systems typically take 2 to 5 days to install. Ground mount systems and larger systems can take longer.
We usually schedule our installations on a first-come, first-serve basis; however, installations can be scheduled for specific blocks of time. Needless to say, inclement weather may impact our installation schedule.
During our free site evaluation, we will work with you to determine what size system will meet your needs. Every home is different, so the size of your system will depend on your energy needs, available space, and budget.
Residential solar power systems are typically 3 to 10 kW. Based on the information that we gather during our site evaluation, we will custom design a solar power system to meet your specific needs and offset as much of your utility bill as you desire.
Your system’s cost is determined by factors such as current electrical usage, the percentage of your usage that you wish to offset, equipment choices, and your budget. We will gather information during your free site evaluation and if appropriate present a couple of different options.
The average home in Maine uses between 8,000 kWh and 12,000 kWh of electricity per year. The cost for a grid-tied, rooftop solar electric system designed to cover this electricity usage would have a direct purchase price between $20,000 and $28,000. Once the 26% tax credit is factored in, the net purchase price would range between $14,800 and $20,720.
For most homeowners, you can see a payback or return on investment (ROI) in as few as 8 to 12 years. Your solar array protects you from rising electrical rates immediately and as those increase each year, your ROI only gets better. For a deeper dive into solar pricing check out our Solar Pricing page.
Your annual electric bill will go down. How much you save will depend on the size of your system and the percentage of your electrical usage that you wish to offset.
Buyers see the benefits of buying a home that can generate its own electricity, so installing solar panels can help you sell your home faster and likely at a significantly higher price. In a study conducted by Lawrence Berkeley Labs, homebuyers were willing to pay a premium of $15,000 more for a home with an average-sized solar system.
Solar photovoltaic systems qualify for a 26% federal tax credit in 2022. This credit is a dollar-for-dollar tax credit and will reduce the amount of tax owed by the system owner before any deductions are applied.
The tax credit then steps down according to the following schedule:
- 22 percent for solar projects in 2023
- After 2023, the residential credit drops to zero while the commercial credit drops to a permanent 10 percent
Yes! The Rural Energy for America Program, better known as the REAP Grant, provides grant funding to rural small businesses and agricultural producers across the United States, to be used for implementing renewable energy systems. Maine Solar Solutions offers turnkey grant application services for our solar customers. To see if you qualify, visit our REAP Grant page.
Absolutely! Maine Solar Solutions recognizes the exceptional sacrifices and efforts of those who serve in our armed forces, and we wish to support local heroes for their service. This program is for veterans, active duty service members, and reserves who would like to purchase a solar energy system. We offer a $500 discount on a solar electric system (1-lifetime max per customer for each discount).
NOTE: This discount cannot be combined with any other offer. Current customers can utilize the discount within 60 days of their contract date. Please have identification available to verify your military status upon inquiry.
Solar is cleaner and less expensive than power from the utility company. It is a smart financial investment because you will save money on electrical costs for years to come and increase your home value.
Our customers who purchase their system typically see a strong return on investment (ROI) and expect to recoup their solar system investment within 8-12 years. After the system has paid for itself, it continues to pay by providing free electricity.
As electrical utility rates rise, your solar investment becomes even more valuable and your property’s value increases as well!