There's good news from Maryland this month, where Republican Governor Larry Hogan signed laws which allow for the implementation of community shared solar projects. Maryland now joins 22 other states that allow some form of community solar, which expands public access to renewable, clean energy by allowing people to invest in a local solar energy project -- sited on a community center or a church, for example -- and offset a portion of their own electric bills from the energy generated.
A new report from the DOE’s "Shared Solar: Current Landscape, Market Potential, and the Impact of Federal Securities Regulation" shows that an estimated 49% of households and 48% of businesses are unable to host solar themselves (because either they don’t own their home or building, or their roof space is too small or not oriented towards the sun). The report suggests "if federal, state, and local policies can institute a supportive regulatory environment, shared solar presents an area of tremendous potential growth for solar photovoltaics (PV), expanding the potential customer base to 100% of homes and businesses ... and representing $8.2–$16.3 billion of cumulative investment”. This translates to a doubling in deployment of solar from 5.5 GW to 11.0 GW in just five years (from 2015 to 2020). Quite impressive!
Stay tuned as Maryland builds community solar projects over its three-year pilot period, and learn from its analyis of best practices throughout the US and the benefits and impacts for its communities.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) signed HB 1087 and SB 398 into law, making it possible for the state to initiate a community shared solar program. The bills allow for a three-year pilot in which the state’s first community shared solar projects will be built. It also establishes the programs costs and rules for utilities.
The bills allow utilities to own community shared solar projects but also require them to buy electricity from privately-developed arrays at the avoided electricity market price, a practice otherwise known as net metering.
They bills also call for studies of best U.S. practices and of potential costs and benefits to Maryland from community shared solar. The studies will inform a General Assembly decision on creating a permanent community shared solar program.
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