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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Efficiency Maine Trust - Renewable Resource Fund   

Last DSIRE Review: 06/11/2013
Program Overview:
State: Maine
Incentive Type: Public Benefits Fund
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Fuel Cells, Municipal Solid Waste, Tidal Energy, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
Applicable Sectors: Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Rural Electric Cooperative, Institutional
Total Fund:Varies because dependent on voluntary contributions by electric customers and revenues from the RPS alternative compliance payment (approximately $800,000 for 2009 and $1.325 million (est.) for 2010 and $840,000 for FY2011)
Charge:None (contributions are voluntary)
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
35-A M.R.S. § 3210
1997 (subsequently amended)
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
35-A M.R.S. §10101 et seq.
Authority 3:
Date Enacted:
Efficiency Maine 65-407 Chapter 312
Authority 4:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
S.B. 649 (Public Law 637)

Maine's public benefits fund for renewable energy was established as part of the state's electric-industry restructuring legislation, enacted in May 1997. The law directed the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to develop a voluntary program allowing customers to contribute to a fund that supports renewable-energy projects. This fund was originally known as the Renewable Resource Fund (now it is part of Efficiency Maine Trust).

The PUC adopted rules requiring the state's utilities to offer customers the option of supporting the fund by checking off a contribution of $1, $5, $10 or other amount each month on their electric bill. Every six months, each utility must notify its customers of the existence and purpose of the fund, the means to contribute to the fund, and summaries of projects that have been supported by the fund.

In addition, revenue for the fund comes from the state's renewables portfolio requirement. Utilities may pay an alternative compliance payment (ACP) in lieu of procuring renewable resources to meet portfolio requirements; ACP income supports the Renewable Resource Fund (now part of Efficiency Maine Trust). Approximately $800,000 was collected from the two sources for the fund during 2009 and an estimated $1.325 million during 2010 and approximately $800,000 in FY2011 (see Efficiency Maine Trust FY2011 Annual report for details).

The fund supports grants for renewable-energy demonstration projects to Maine-based nonprofits, consumer-owned electric transmission and distribution utilities, community-based nonprofit organizations, community action programs, municipalities, quasi-municipal corporations or districts, and school administrative units. The first funding solicitation was issued in 2003.* As of June 2011 (HB 568), the fund is also authorized to support the solar and wind rebate program.

Efficiency Maine Trust administers the fund and must report to the Joint Standing Committee of the Legislature every year by December 1. The annual report includes a description of commission actions, accounting of total deposits and expenditures from the fund, and a description of any research and development or community demonstration projects that received funding. See the Efficiency Maine Reports for additional information on the Renewable Resource Fund. 

In 2007, Public Law 403 established the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) alternative compliance payment, the revenues of which are added to the Renewable Resource Fund. LD 36 expanded funding eligibility to additional types of organizations and transferred management of the fund from the State Planning Office to the PUC. Most recently, the Act Regarding Maine's Energy Future (Public Law 372, June 2009) established a new entity, the Efficiency Maine Trust, which became responsible for Maine's energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. All of the funds in Renewable Energy Fund were transferred to Efficiency Maine Trust July 1, 2010.

*The fund has support research and development via grants provided by the Maine Technology Institute. As of May 2010, funding has been fully allocated.

  Michael Barden
Efficiency Maine
151 Capitol Steet
Suite 1
Augusta, ME 04333-6262
Phone: (866) 376-2463
Fax: (207) 213-4153
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.