Mainers Take Advantage of T-REC Earnings

Bethel, MEMainers are receiving checks averaging $500 to $1,000 for their first Thermal Renewable Energy Credits and will continue to do annually so for the life of their heating systems, totaling up to $14,000.

The process has been made straightforward and simple, easing the homeowners’ responsibility to earn these credits.  By participating, a homeowner can earn about 3.6 RECs per ton of pellets that they use.  The market price of T-RECs fluctuates and can be worth up to a cap of $25 each.  For a homeowner using about 8 tons of pellets per year this could mean grossing over $700/year, or up to $14,000 over 20 years not to mention the fuel cost savings.  Ultimately this allows the homeowner to lower their cost of pellets to as low as $2.75/gal equivalent of #2 heating oil.  Over a thirty-year boiler or furnace life (as leading systems are warrantied to), a modern wood heating system returns thousands of dollars to the homeowner and in turn to the local economy.

Eligible, highly efficient, modern wood pellet heating systems are able to qualify to earn renewable energy credits, much like other renewable energy sources do.  This puts dollars directly back into the pocket of each homeowner who participates in the program with Maine Energy Systems.

This is a major boost to heating with renewable fuels in the state of Maine with the PUC issuing the state’s first-ever residential T-REC order in 2023.  This lowers heating fuel cost even further to Maine Energy Systems bulk wood pellet customers and encourages the use of renewable heating in Maine with strong state support.

The creation of the program was supported by the efforts of Innovative Natural Resource Solutions LLC, WES Energy & Environment, LLC, Maine Energy Systems LLC, the Maine Pellet Fuels Association, and the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine (now Professional Logging Contractors of the Northeast).

Maine’s support of wood pellet heating is timely given climate goals, fossil fuel heating costs, and electricity costs for Mainers.  With up to 80% of homes reliant on #2 heating oil, propane, or natural gas, this is a major step towards decarbonization while saving Mainers money and keeping their fuel dollars in state.  Efficiency Maine’s continued support of rebates for up to $6,000 per residential installation (and up to 35% rebates on eligible commercial systems) is yet another added boost to allow homeowners and businesses to make the switch to renewable heat – for many, there has never been a better time.

Homeowners across the U.S. may also be eligible for a $2,000 federal tax credit on the purchase and installation of high-efficiency home heating equipment that fires wood pellets for heat and hot water.  This is supported by the US EPA affirmation of pellets as a low carbon fuel from the point of combustion; carbon that is released by consuming wood pellets is already in the natural carbon cycle and is directly offset by responsibly managed forests which constantly sequester the carbon in return.  Each home that switches to wood pellets cuts both its heating carbon footprint drastically and drives heating costs down.

The triple play of T-RECs, the federal tax credit, and the Efficiency Maine rebate makes the payback economics on new installations very attractive and the right program for Maine to support.

Responsibly managed forests are key to sequestering carbon and fighting climate change, but they are also local industry.  Heating dollars spent on pellet heating are returned to the local industries and economy rather than leaving the region as they do when spent on fossil fuels.  Maine’s steadfast support for modern wood heat and encouragement for responsible use of renewable forest resources should be applauded.

Featured photos picture the Carter family outside their home heated with a Maine Energy Systems wood pellet central heating system; recipients of the first round of Thermal Renewable Energy Credit checks. 

“Switching from oil to pellet heat has been a smooth process for our family. Maine Energy Systems has worked with us every step of the way from installation and rebates to pellet delivery, cleaning and maintenance. We couldn’t be happier for the next step- selling renewable energy credits to further offset our carbon footprint.”

—The Carters

hands holding wood pellets with a heater in the background

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