Maine Governor Baldacci Proposes Solar Incentives

February 16, 2005

Maine Governor John Baldacci proposed in mid-February rebates for homeowners and businesses to install solar systems to produce electricity and thermal energy. The goal would be 50,000 rooftop solar installations in Maine. The governor said, "Solar power is one of the many sustainable energy options for Maine that I support and believe in." He will present a detailed proposal to the Maine Legislature next month.

Baldacci noted that a typical Maine home heats water with electricity and that water heaters are the largest energy consuming appliances in many homes. His justification for the rebates is that solar water heaters cut electricity bills by an average of $1,000 per year.

The rebates from Baldacci's plan would come from a public benefits charge Maine electricity consumers pay on their electricity bills to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The rebates would apply to solar electric photovoltaic (PV) systems and solar panels to heat water (solar thermal). The total amount of rebates would be capped at $500,000 per year.

The proposal follows the lead of 26 other states that have put incentives in place for solar energy. Today more than 1 million homes and 200,000 businesses heat homes in the United States. See the governor's plan in detail as he outlined in a newspaper article published in the February 16 edition of the Bangor Daily News titled, "Solar Power, Brighter Energy Future."