Your Educational Resource for Solar
Buying solar can be an intimidating process. Solar technology and solar policy are constantly evolving. Trying to differentiate between solar contractors and compare products can also create confusion. In a state like Maine, where there is no contractor licensing, the Attorney General’s Office warns “Buyer Beware”. This puts Maine solar buyers in a position that requires trust and/or some time investment in educating themselves.
Insource Renewables works to support Maine solar buyers through that process. By connecting prospective clients with third-party resources from the national solar industry, we provide direct access to the best practices for buying and selling solar energy systems. Our ultimate goal is to put the best information that we can in the hands of Maine homeowners and businesses so they can make a decision that best fits their priorities.
IREC’s Smart Solar Buyer Resources
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) is a nonprofit organization based in New York that is focused on increasing access to clean energy through policy support, workforce training, and consumer protection resources. Insource Renewables relies on IREC’s critical resources during our policy work in Augusta, for internal staff development, and for helping to support Maine solar customers.
We are fully supportive of IREC’s Clean Energy Consumer’s Bill of Rights and conform our practices with those outlined in the document. We also include IREC’s Be Solar Smart Consumer Checklist with all of our preliminary proposals for grid-tied solar PV systems. You can visit IREC’s Consumer Protection resources on their website for more information.
SEIA’s Consumer Protection Resources
Insource Renewables is a member of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the trade association of the U.S. solar industry. As members of SEIA, we agree to conduct business in accordance with the SEIA Solar Business Code, which details practices that promote transparency and good faith. We also provide our clients with SEIA disclosures that outline the various considerations used in establishing the benefits a solar photovoltaic (PV) system provides to our customers.
SEIA also provides its Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power that can be downloaded for reference as buyers consider an investment in solar.
Licensing, Certification, and Accreditation
While Maine lacks solar-specific licenses for individuals and companies, there are voluntary industry credentials that help support quality and help consumers in selecting qualified professionals. The leading organization for solar credentialing is the North American Board of Certified Energy Professionals (NABCEP).
NABCEP certifies solar installation professionals and solar technical sales professionals. Certification requires proven field experience and successful completion of NABCEP’s rigorous certification exams. NABCEP’s process provides significant value to the professionals seeking certification, and the certification itself helps consumers assess the expertise of the professionals completing their installation.
NABCEP also accredits solar installation companies. A company with NABCEP Solar Installation Company Accreditation must demonstrate quality throughout their processes, including sales, installation, safety, and continuing education. Insource Renewables was the first company in Maine and only the tenth in the country to achieve this accreditation. Accreditation provides consumers with reassurance of a company’s experience and expertise.
While Maine no longer has solar-specific licensing for companies or professionals, the state does require licensed electricians perform the work. The State Electricians’ Examining Board provides a list of all licensees, which allows customers to verify that their professional carries the appropriate qualifications.
The Database for State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)
DSIRE is the leading clearinghouse for various state and federal incentives related to solar energy and energy efficiency. If you are looking for comprehensive information on state rebates for energy efficiency, federal solar tax incentives, or local regulatory policy, the DSIRE website - an effort of the NC Clean Energy Technology Center - should be your go-to resource.
A more local resource for current energy efficiency programs for homes and businesses is Efficiency Maine. Through Efficiency Maine’s website, you can find the most current information on rebates and financing. You can also search for registered vendors in the state that perform energy efficiency and renewable energy work. We highly recommend getting multiple quotes and comparing the offerings that our competitors offer, and this is a place to find out who else is out there.
The nature of solar regulatory policy is one of change. As technology redefines our relationship with the grid, the rules regarding our grid have to change. Insource Renewables is heavily involved in state conversations regarding grid modernization and works to document changes in a timely manner through our blog. When things are changing faster than our president can type, we are happy to answer questions directly with our customers.