Best Solar Panel Installation Companies in Maine

Mike Powers


While Maine may not seem like a natural fit for solar panels, higher than average energy prices might make rooftop solar panel installation make sense for you. Maine was among the 10 states with the highest electricity rates in August 2023 — and the average price per kilowatt-hour was up 20% from where it was a year earlier.¬†

Higher electricity prices typically means more savings from adopting solar panels, but this goes to show that how much electricity you use is a big part of the equation, too. While statewide trends are a useful marker, your decision to go solar should be rooted in your specific circumstances. Solar panels still cost thousands of dollars even after getting much cheaper over the last decade. 

State-level incentives such as net metering and a property tax exemption for the value that solar panels add to your home could help make the clean energy switch a more enticing decision. A federal¬†30% tax credit from the Inflation Reduction Act can also reduce the cost of your installation, but you should calculate your likely savings over your solar panels’ lifetime before taking the plunge.

If you’re interested in going solar in Maine, this is a good place to start. These are some of the solar companies you might contract with for solar installation in the Pine Tree State.

Best national solar panel companies in Maine

No matter how many options of solar installer you have, you should always get multiple quotes so you can compare offers. Here are the national solar companies CNET has reviewed that operate in Maine.

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Palmetto Solar

Best overall

Solar panels are typically low maintenance equipment, but they’re also unfamiliar. If you want to reap the benefits of solar but will have a bit more peace of mind if someone else is making sure it’s working, Palmetto might be a good fit for you. Just remember to add the cost of Palmetto’s monitoring service in to your payback period calculations.

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SunPower Solar

Best solar panels

If you’re looking for top-of-the-line solar panels, SunPower is your best choice. But don’t write it off if you’re looking for a less flashy installation that will get the job done. This year it started installing Qcells panels, which should make an installation from the longest-tenured company on our list available to more people.

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Freedom Forever

Best for cash customers

Include Freedom Forever in your search if you want the backing of a national company that installs a wide variety of the most popular solar equipment available. Freedom Forever also extends a couple of products that take some of the pain and risk out of going solar, like a production guarantee and an escrow option with cash purchases. Online reviews say customer satisfaction has been low of late, though the company says that’s changing.

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Tesla Solar

Most affordable

Tesla’s solar branch seems to be the least loved of Elon Musk’s ventures. Even Tesla’s Solar Roof seems to get more love.

If price is the thing you won’t budge on, consider Tesla. By all accounts, Tesla installs quality panels and makes the closest thing there is to a household name in solar storage: the Powerwall.

Where you might miss out is customer service. Discussion online seems to suggest Tesla’s service is a bit of a gamble.

Local solar panel companies in Maine

Alongside the national players, there are plenty of local companies to choose from. Here’s a small selection of them.

Maine Solar Solutions is a local company operating only in the Pine Tree State. While most of its customers choose to keep their system tied to the power grid, Maine Solar Solutions does offer off-grid solar, too. (You can only participate in net metering programs if your system is grid-tied.) You can purchase your solar panels or finance them through a solar loan.

Maine Solar Solutions sources its solar products from manufacturers including REC, Hanwha Qcells, Silfab Solar and Tesla. All of the solar panels it offers have a power output warranty for 25 years and all inverters are warrantied between 10 and 25 years. Maine Solar Solutions also offers a 10-year quality-of-work warranty.

ReVision Energy is a New England-based solar installer operating in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Founded in 2003, this installer has completed nearly 14,000 solar projects in the New England area. Currently, ReVision Energy customers can purchase their solar panels upfront or finance them over time with a solar loan.

ReVision Energy offers solar products from Qcells, REC, Tesla, Generac and other manufacturers. Customers can also choose between rooftop and ground-mounted solar panels. Rooftop solar panels are most common, but a ground-mounted system may work if you have the space and your roof is unfit for solar panels. ReVision Energy provides a 5-year quality-of-work warranty and chooses solar panels with a 25-year production warranty from the manufacturer.

How to determine which solar company in Maine is right for you

The Solar Energy Industries Association says homeowners in Maine have 31 solar panel installers to choose from. Solar panel companies have different installation processes — some use in-house employees to perform solar panel system installations while other companies hire subcontractors. Make sure you know the installation process of the company you want to work with.

Finding the right solar company means finding the one that best fits your energy goals. That means you need to consider multiple important variables. Make sure the solar installer you’re looking to contract with has the equipment and warranties you’re comfortable with and offers quality customer service. Go into your consultations equipped with knowledge about how many solar panels you need and how much you can save (including net metering and whether or not it’s available to you) so that you don’t get oversold.

No matter how great the first company you talk to is, always get multiple quotes — a minimum of four to five¬†solar company consultations is a good start. That way, by the time you lock in a contract with a solar installer, you know you’re getting a good deal.

Cost of solar panels in Maine

Here’s a look at the average cash price for a typical solar panel system in Maine before factoring in tax credits and incentives, according to data from FindEnergy.com. It’s important to note that your system could cost more if you choose to install a solar battery. National averages vary from source to source. One estimate from solar consulting firm¬†Wood Mackenzie¬†(PDF) puts the average residential price for the second quarter of 2023 at $3.28 per watt. All estimates and averages are just that. The price you pay might vary based on local factors like permitting and labor costs and costs specific to your system like its size or the complexity of your roof.

Average cost of solar panels in Maine

Typical system size (kW) Price per watt Total installed cost Cost after 30% federal tax credit
Maine 6 $3.80 $22,800 $15,960
National average 8.6 $3.67 $31,558 $22,091

The interactive infographic below provides the average total price, cost per watt and typical solar panel system size for different states, according to data from FindEnergy.com. The prices shown do not represent fluctuations from tax credits or state solar incentives. If FindEnergy doesn’t have solar data for a particular state, it appears grayed out on the map.

Solar panel incentives and rebates in Maine

While solar panels have dropped in price in the last 20 years, purchasing rooftop solar is still a big investment. You can find solar tax credits and incentives at the federal, state and local levels to help make solar panels more affordable.

One of the largest tax credits is the residential clean energy credit, previously known as the investment tax credit or ITC. The residential clean energy credit is a¬†federal solar tax credit¬†that credits 30% of the cost of your solar panel system when you file your taxes. It’s offered in all 50 states and was increased and extended when the¬†Inflation Reduction Act¬†was passed in August 2022. There is no cap on this tax credit, so you can claim the full 30% no matter the size or cost of your solar system, as long as you pay that much in taxes.

To apply for the residential clean energy credit, fill out¬†IRS form 5695¬†(PDF), following the IRS’s instructions (PDF).

There are also a few state-level solar incentives in Maine. For starters, the state offers a property tax exemption on solar panels for residents who purchase their system. Maine residents can also participate in net metering programs. Net metering lets consumers sell excess solar power generated by their system back to the grid in exchange for credits on their energy bills.

Community solar, which is growing quickly throughout the state, is also available. With an active utility account, you can buy solar power produced at another location for about 10% to 15% cheaper than the standard electric rate. While there is still room for expansion, community solar will likely continue to grow in Maine.

Want something smaller than a whole-home solar system? See our picks for the best portable solar panels and solar generators.

A lighthouse in Maine with solar panels. A lighthouse in Maine with solar panels.

Solar panels keep the lights on at this lighthouse in Maine.

visionsofmaine/Getty Images

How to pay for solar panels in Maine 

There are financing options to make the switch to solar affordable. While some residents buy solar panels upfront, others finance them over time with a solar loan. It’s also important to factor in the solar payback period, which is the time it takes to recoup your upfront investment and when savings begins.¬†

Here are some ways to pay for solar panels.

Solar loan: Your solar installer likely has a relationship with a bank or other financial institution to offer a loan designed for solar panels. This can be a great deal, but you’ll want to get multiple offers to ensure the rates and terms are the best.

Lease or power purchase agreement: Some solar companies allow you to lease your system or enter a power purchase agreement. If you choose to lease, you won’t own the solar system, you’ll just pay for use of the equipment. Entering a power purchase agreement means you’ll buy solar energy generated from the solar company to power your home. The price you’ll pay is usually lower than the retail rate from your local utility company. You won’t get tax credits from leases and power purchase agreements, since you won’t own the solar panels. Maine allows third-party ownership of solar panels, but regulations vary within states, so confirm for yourself.

Cash: This approach only works if you happen to have thousands of dollars sitting around in a bank account. If you don’t have that yet, but you want solar panels in the future, consider saving money in a high-yield savings account. Interest rates are high right now, and this can help you save faster.

Home equity: You don’t have to use a loan from your solar company. Financial institutions offer home equity loans and lines of credit (or HELOCs) that are commonly used for home improvement projects. These loans can be used for basically any purpose, and they may be a good fit for your solar project. Shop around and make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Personal loan:¬†You can also borrow the money through a personal loan. The main difference between a personal loan and a home equity loan is that a personal loan is typically unsecured. That means your house isn’t at risk. The downside is they tend to have shorter terms and higher interest rates than home equity products.

Installation factors to keep in mind

Investing in solar panels is a big decision, so you should consider all elements that could determine whether it’s the right move for you. Keep these factors in mind.

Is your roof right for solar? Some roofs may not be in the right condition for efficient solar panel installation. The size, shape and slope of the roof will affect how much power the system can produce. According to the Department of Energy, solar panels will be most efficient on roofs with a slope between 15 and 40 degrees. You should also consider the age and condition of your roof. If it is older or in need of maintenance, your roof should be replaced or repaired before installing solar panels.

Does your neighborhood allow solar panels? In some states, home owners associations have the power to prohibit solar panel systems. Maine law states that homeowners associations and neighborhoods are not allowed to ban solar panels, but may be able to influence your system’s design or location. Check your homeowners association bylaws before entering any agreement.

Can you add your panels to your insurance policy? Most standard homeowner’s policies cover rooftop solar panels, so you shouldn’t need to take out a separate policy. After installing your panels, contact your insurance agency to update your policy. The specific details of your policy could vary depending on your coverage.

Is your location right for solar? On average, Maine receives 192 sunny days per year, which is slightly lower than the US average (205 days). Solar panels are designed to produce energy in all climates and areas with less direct sunlight. One rule of thumb says that solar panels make financial sense if they receive at least four hours of direct sunlight a day. If you live in a cloudy region of Maine or your roof gets constant shade coverage, a solar panel system won’t produce as much electricity as it would in direct sunlight.

Do you rent your home? Renters¬†will need to check with a landlord or rental management company to confirm whether solar panels are allowed. If not, you can consider community solar programs as an alternative to rooftop solar. Community solar is a good option for renters because your subscription can align with your lease. The solar energy is produced at another location, so there’s no need for installation at your apartment or rental home.

How we found the best solar companies

The companies we listed above as “the best” are curated from CNET’s best solar companies list. Companies making the best list are scored on the equipment, warranties and customer service they offer. Then, we make sure these recommendations are available in your state. You can read a full breakdown of how we review solar companies here.

Companies listed under the local installers were chosen in a less rigorous way. We chose them because they offered something unique or notable to customers in the state, they seemed well-regarded by internet reviewers or because they were one of the few installers we could find information on in the state.

Whether we’ve completed a full review on a company or not, it’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different installers before choosing a company.

Maine solar power FAQs

What maintenance is required for solar panels?

Solar panels can last more than 30 years, but they will require some routine maintenance to perform efficiently. The most basic maintenance you’ll need to think about is cleaning them of any dirt and debris. Within the industry, it’s also strongly recommended that you schedule an annual inspection with a licensed professional to make sure your system is operating safely and efficiently. If you notice an issue with your solar panels, you may need to schedule additional maintenance or repairs.

Does Maine require solar panels on all homes?

No, Maine does not require solar panels, unlike California, which requires that newly built homes include solar panel systems.

How can I find a good solar installer in Maine?

As the number of solar installers grows in Maine, it can be tricky to choose the right company. Before signing a contract with a solar installer, we recommend you thoroughly review your options, get multiple quotes from different installers and read customer testimonials. You can review CNET’s picks for top solar companies to learn more about what to consider when searching for a solar installer.





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