Residents of Maine enjoy some of the lowest energy costs in the nation. However, these costs are rising by as much as 3% annually. For this reason, residents of Maine are looking for more cost-effective ways to power their homes. Of course, one of the best ways to power a house is with solar energy, which is environmentally friendly and cost-effective.
Solar panel costs have decreased by 20% over the last five years. That said, you probably want to know whether investing in solar in Maine is worth it. To determine this, we must determine how long it will take for you to break even. This is the so-called payback period for solar panel investments.
First, we need to know how much electricity you use and its cost. We also need to determine how much peak sunlight Maine gets, and once we have figured out the average cost of solar panels in Maine, we can calculate the overall payback period.
Residential Energy Usage and Expenditures in Maine
The average resident of Maine uses 531-kilowatt hours of electricity per month, 50th in the nation. This is about 41.2% less than the national average, 903-kilowatt hours per month.
However, the rates per kWh are relatively high, and residents pay on average 14.66 cents per kWh, which is 10th in the US, or nearly 24% greater than the national average of 11.88 cents.
However, because residents of Maine use so little electricity, overall costs are relatively low. A resident pays an average of $78 per month for their electricity bill or $936 per year. This ranks 50th in the nation. That is about 27.1% less than the national average, $107 per month.
The Average Cost of Solar Panels in Maine
We now want to determine how much a solar panel installation in the state of Maine costs. The good news is that residents pay $2.87 per watt of solar panel installed, below the national average of $3 per watt.
However, the bulk pricing scale applies to solar panel installations. The larger the system, the less it will cost per watt. For example, a 10kW system will cost more in total than a 4kW system, but on a per-watt basis, the more extensive system is, the more cost-effective. Keeping this in mind, how much does an average solar panel installation in the state of Maine cost?
- 4kW – $3.14 per watt – $12,560
- 5kW – $3.01 per watt – $15,050
- 6kW – $2.87 per watt – $17,220
- 7kW – $2.85 per watt – $19,950
- 8kW – $2.90 per watt – $23,200
- 9kW – $2.78 per watt – $25,020
- 10kW – $2.76 per watt – $27,600
Federal Solar Rebate Program
The Federal Solar Rebate Program, also known as the ITC or Investment Tax Credit, provides a 26% rebate on all solar panel installations. This 26% rebate will last until the end of the year 2022. Then, through to the end of 2023, the rebate will be 22%. After the end of 2023, there does not appear to be an extension of this rebate.
Therefore, installing your system before the end of 2022 is recommended. So, what do solar panel installation costs in the state of Maine look like accounting for this rebate?
- 4kW – $9,294.40
- 5kW – $11,137
- 6kW – $12,742.80
- 7kW – $14,763
- 8kW – $17,168
- 9kW – $18,514.80
- 10kW – $20,424
Unfortunately, Maine does not have other incentives or rebates in place. There is a net metering policy; however, this only makes a difference if you produce more energy than you use. So let’s move on and figure out how much electricity those solar panels can produce.
Peak Sunlight Hours in Maine: How Much Electricity Will Solar Panels Produce?
The average installation size is 5kW, so this is what we will be working with. The average 5-kilowatt solar system can produce 20-kilowatt-hours of electricity per day or roughly 600 kilowatt-hours per month.
However, peak sunlight makes a difference. The standard amount of peak sunlight used in solar panel output calculations is 4 hours. The issue here is that Maine gets an average of only 3.25 hours of peak sunlight per day, which decreases the amount of electricity a solar panel can produce. A 5-kilowatt solar system in Maine will produce 16.25 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day or roughly 487.5 kilowatt-hours per month.
Maine Solar Panel Costs vs. Savings: The Payback Period
Of course, we want to determine how long it will take for you to break even on your investment. We have the four main figures to perform our calculations:
- The average resident of Maine uses just 531 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month.
- A resident of Maine pays an average of $78 per month for their electricity bill. This equates to just $936 per year.
- In Maine, a 5kW solar panel array will cost an average of $11,137 to install.
- A 5kW system will produce roughly 487.5 kilowatt-hours per month based on peak sunlight.
- 531 kilowatt-hours is 91.8% of the 531 kilowatt-hours that residents use per month. This means that you can save 91.8% of your monthly or annual energy costs. This equates to yearly savings of $859.25.
Remember that the cost of a 5kW solar panel system in the state of Maine is roughly $11,137. Based on these figures, the payback time for a 5kW solar system in Maine is 12.96 years. So, as you can tell, a 5kW solar system doesn’t quite meet your monthly energy requirements.
To fully meet your energy requirements in the state of Maine, you would need a 6kW solar system that can produce 585 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month. Remember that this is based on 3.25 hours of peak sunlight. This would mean you save $936 per year or 100% of your yearly energy costs.
A 6kW solar system in Maine will cost roughly $12,742.80. Based on this, the payback time would be approximately 13.61 years. So as you can see, based on the break-even period, it’s more cost-effective for a resident of Maine to get a 5kW system than a 6kW system.
Economic Feasibility of Solar in Maine
Maine is one of the more expensive states for solar power; however, a solar panel investment will eventually pay off, although the payback time in Maine is pretty long. Remember that a solar panel investment helps your wallet and the environment.