SOUTH PORTLAND — The city has launched a rebate program that encourages low- and moderate-income residents to purchase more efficient and cleaner electric technologies for their homes, transportation and lawn care.

The Electrify Everything! rebate program will provide qualified residents with rebates of up to $2,000 per household on electric vehicles, heat pumps, e-bikes, home insulation and weatherization projects, as well as electric leaf blowers and lawn mowers.

The municipal program augments rebates offered through Efficiency Maine, the state’s independent administrator of programs to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And it’s similar to programs being offered by other communities and the Mills’ administration as a way to encourage Mainers to act locally in the fight against global climate change.

“With heating fuel and gasoline prices at record highs, the technologies we are supporting will help people save money, feel comfortable in their homes, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Julie Rosenbach, the city’s sustainability director.

Electrify Everything! is open to South Portland residents with household incomes up to 100 percent of the area median income, which ranges from $78,200 for a single person to $111,700 for a family of four, according to program guidelines.

The following rebates are available: $2,000 for a new battery electric vehicle or plug-in electric hybrid vehicle; $1,200 for a Tier 2 air source heat pump; $400 for a hot water heat pump; $300 for an e-bike; $500 for an e-cargo bike, $100 for an electric lawn mower or leaf blower; $100 for air sealing with an energy assessment; and 20 percent of an insulation project cost up to $2,000.


The South Portland program aims to make upgrading to electric more affordable to moderate-income residents who don’t qualify for larger rebates offered to low-income residents. While Efficiency Maine offers low-income homeowners a $2,000 rebate for their first Tier 2 heat pump, it offers other Mainers only $800. A heat pump can cost about $3,000 to $5,000, installed.

“We wanted to bridge the gap to help more residents in South Portland qualify and afford to make this investment,” Rosenbach said.

Funded with $270,000 in federal pandemic recovery aid, Electrify Everything! is expected to help the city become carbon neutral by 2050, a goal outlined in One Climate Future, South Portland’s climate action plan. The Maine Climate Council has set a more ambitious goal of reaching state carbon neutrality by 2045 under Maine Won’t Wait, a four-year plan for climate action launched in 2020.

Petroleum-burning heating systems and vehicles emit carbon dioxide, particulate matter and ozone that contribute to both global climate change and local air pollution, Rosenbach said. In South Portland, 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from residential buildings, and 32 percent come from transportation, she said.

Neighboring Portland kicked off its Electrify Everything! program in early 2022, partnering with ReVision Energy to offer residents $500 discounts on solar installations and $250 discounts on air source heat pumps, heat pump water heaters and home electric vehicle chargers. The maximum discount is $1,250 per household for all four technologies.

The city set a goal to upgrade 75 homes through ReVision’s efforts this year and it’s on track to improve more than 100, said Troy Moon, Portland’s sustainability director.


“Sixty percent of our emissions come from buildings,” Moon said. “As grid electricity becomes cleaner because of solar and wind production, we’ll be able to take advantage of that to achieve our carbon neutral goals. The New England grid is already cleaner than most, but it’s going to be even more so in the future.”

Under Maine law, 80 percent of electricity in the state must come from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. In addition, the cities of Portland and South Portland each have a goal to install 245 megawatts of solar power generation within their city limits by 2045, according to Portland’s website.

Moon said sustainability officials in cities and states across the country are looking for ways to “incentivize” the switch to electric technologies.

In Maine, Auburn launched a rebate program last fall with $250,000 in pandemic aid, offering to match up to $1,000 annually per address for Efficiency Maine rebates on clothes washers, heat pumps, insulation, LED bulbs and other energy-saving equipment, but not electric vehicles. Owner-occupied homes with up to four units are eligible.

Last spring, Bangor started offering maximum $2,000 grants to low-income, single-family homeowners for heat pumps and weatherization using its federal Community Development Block Grant program. And Presque Isle this summer started a low-interest renovation loan program to help landlords make rentals more energy efficient and safer.

Gov. Janet Mills has allocated more than $50 million in federal recovery aid and other funding to grant programs and other initiatives to help Maine communities and individuals reduce energy costs and combat the effects of climate change from Casco Bay to the Crown of Maine.

Investing in electric technologies also is one way Mainers can more broadly address the climate crisis, which is devastating the poorest nations that are least responsible for the problem, including flood-ravaged Pakistan, said Hannah Pingree, the governor’s innovation director.

“We are very excited to see these local efforts expanding,” Pingree said. “Efficiency is a win-win for everyone. It’s an opportunity to act locally and have some impact globally.”

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