Maine will receive $62 million in federal funding to help extend solar power access to low-income and disadvantaged communities.

Maine is looking to bring solar power to more homeowners and renters in all parts of the state. The funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would reduce financial barriers to rooftop solar panels by providing incentives for residential solar and energy storage, according to the proposal submitted to the EPA in October 2023 by the Governor’s Energy Office.

While the framework of the program has not been made final, the state wrote in its proposal that the incentives would affect low-income people or families in homes or multi-unit buildings.

The EPA funding also would be used for technical and financial help to support cooperatively owned community solar so households, tribal communities and community-based organizations can participate in solar energy ownership without having to be homeowners, the Governor’s Energy Office said.

And a new community solar and energy storage program would focus specifically on serving low-income and disadvantaged households. It would lower electricity bills and build energy resilience by using competitive bidding and leveraging energy assistance programs to cut costs and make more benefits available.

Funded by the Federal Inflation Reduction Act, the EPA’s $7 billion Solar for All competition in 2023 is meant to spur deployment of residential and community solar for millions of Americans. Maine was one of 60 projects awarded funding, which the EPA estimates will help deliver solar energy for 900,000 homes across the country.


Maine applied for $99.5 million, the maximum for which it was eligible. The Maine proposal initially estimated 38,000 low-income and disadvantaged households would have access to solar with rooftop projects and community solar. It will also provide solar energy job opportunities and support modernization of the electric grid.

It’s not clear how many households would benefit given the EPA funding is less than what was requested, said a spokesperson for the Governor’s Energy Office. State officials will learn more about the terms of the award, which may influence the program design and number of households that can participate.

Beginning later this year, the public will be asked to weigh in on details of the program.

In Maine, 977 megawatts of solar energy are installed, up from 62 MW in 2019. Most solar arrays in Maine are small-scale, or less than 5 MW.

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