Residents of Maine have a well-earned reputation for rugged individualism, and extended rebates for residential and commercial solar and wind installations will help homeowners and businesses who want to produce their own power.

The state recently extended rebates to grid-tied wind energy systems installed after January 1, 2009, and committed to a two-year extension of rebates for photovoltaic (PV) systems through December 31, 2010. While rebates for PV systems installed in 2008 are already exhausted, rebates for solar-thermal systems are still available.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) said wind-energy systems must be installed by a master electrician or by a factory-trained and approved dealer for the system working under the supervision of a master electrician. The PUC will determine the amount of the rebate for wind installations. An owner or tenant who purchases a PV system qualifies for a rebate of $2 per watt, with a maximum incentive of $2,000. PV systems must be installed by master electricians certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) or by a master electrician working with a NABCEP-certified installer.

The solar rebate program is funded by an assessment on the state's transmission and distribution utilities. $500,000 in funding will be available for rebates annually. Of this sum, 25 percent will be allocated to rebates for PV systems, and 75 percent will be allocated to rebates for solar-thermal systems. The program expires Dec. 31, 2010.