Residential Solar Power in Maryland
Maryland is making great progress in solar energy. The state is well ranked for its level of installed solar electric capacity, and each year, continues to add more solar installations. There is currently enough solar energy installed in Maryland to power almost 30,000 homes.
Maryland has seen major growth in solar power capacity every year since 2007. Each year, Maryland has increased its grid connected photovoltaic capacity by at least 50%. In 2008, it grew by 211% when Maryland installed 2.9 M!, and in 2012, grew 215% with the installation of 79.7 MW of photovoltaic capacity. In 2014, Maryland installed another 73 MW of solar electric capacity, and is now ranked 13 in the nation in installed solar capacity.
Experts estimate that Maryland has enough potential to install 18 GW of urban utility scale photovoltaics, as well as 373 GW of rural utility scale photovoltaics.
Maryland Solar Power Developments
- The Maryland Solar Farm in Hagerstown was completed in 2012 and has a capacity of 20 MW. It can power more than 2,000 homes in the area.
- Mount St. Mary’s University’s solar farm is one of the largest in the state, and has a capacity of 14 MW.
- The New Market Solar Farm in Dorchester near Baltimore is currently under development, and will have a capacity of 15 MW.
Maryland Solar Power Laws & Policies
Maryland has big goals for renewable energy. The state has a mandate to have 20% renewable enery by 2022. Utilities who fail to meet the renewable energy standard will have a noncompliance penalty fee assessed, so they are encouraged to meet this goal.
In 2012, Maryland signed into law two bills that increased the state’s 2% solar power target two years ahead of the original schedule.
And now, Maryland has two bills that will create community solar projects. These projects will allow residents to make an investment in the project, typically installed on a church, open space, or other community area, and then have a portion of their electric bill offset from the energy that is generated.
For decades, Maryland has shown its commitment to the future of solar power: in 1980, the state introduced a law that prohibits unreasonable limitations on installing solar panels on roofs or exterior walls. And in 2008, the state added further protection that prohibit restrictions that would significantly increase the system’s cost, or significantly decrease its efficiency.
Additionally, Maryland offers solar easements. Solar easements are contracts that home owners can enter into which can preserve sun exposure for the future. That means once you’ve installed a solar power system on your home and signed a solar easement contract, you won’t ever have to worry about losing access to the sunlight you need to power your home.
And although Maryland’s policy on solar access is strong, it’s important that you still work closely with your home owner’s association or municipality to ensure that you’re working within their guidelines. They are prohibited from making any major limitations, but you will need to know what restrictions you may be working with before you get started on your solar panel installation. It’s also wise to enter into a solar easement to ensure continued access to the sun for your solar power system.
Can You Install Solar Panels on Your Home in Maryland?
There’s practically nothing stopping you from installing a solar power system on your home in Maryland. Solid solar access laws are one thing, but the financial incentives in Maryland are another — and they’re impressive. Maryland has a state solar power rebate, tax benefits, renewable energy credits, net metering, local financing, and more.
Maryland has a generous solar power rebate for residents. Under the Clean Energy Grant program, you can get a $1,000 rebate for installing a solar power system on your home.
A $1,000 rebate is great news, but Maryland’s solar tax benefits are even better. Home owners with large solar power systems may qualify for the Clean Energy Production Tax Credit. This credit is at a minimum $1,000, and pays you $.0085 per kilowatt hour. Maryland also offers a 100% property tax exemption and a 100% sales tax exemption. And of course, Maryland residents can qualify for the 30% federal tax credit: the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit through 2016.
With Maryland’s 100% property tax exemption, you won’t have to pay any additional taxes for the added value to your home. That means you can make the improvement of adding a solar power system, and also enjoy the added value, but your property tax bill won’t change due to the increase in value. That can pay off for decades, even while you’re realizing electricity savings every year.
Plus, a sales tax exemption enacted in 2011 means you’ll be saving the cost of sales tax right off the top, which can save hundreds — or even into the thousands.
Another great way to save money with a solar power system: Maryland’s Solar Renewable Energy Credits. With these credits, you can sell your solar usage credits to utility companies in order to help them meet their solar power goals. Most residential systems will generate between five and six credits per year, which are typically worth at least $100 — giving you about $500 back annually just for using solar power!
And if you end up with extra solar power, you’ll get paid for that, too. Maryland is a net metering state, and with net metering, you will monitor your solar power production and usage. Any solar power you don’t use and feed back into the grid will be credited back to you at the retail rate on future bills. And at the end of your annual billing cycle, if you continue to run an excess credit, you’ll get a check issued for your contribution to the grid.
Need help paying for your solar power system? Maryland offers local option Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing that can help. With a PACE loan, you can borrow money from your municipality to install your solar power system, and then pay it back as a special assessment on your property taxes of a set number of years.
From grants, loans, and rebates to tax credits, Maryland has a number of financial incentives available to those who want to install a residential solar power system. In all, Maryland has more than 80 different financial incentives available for renewable energy.
Maryland Climate and Energy Factors
Maryland typically has 105 days of sunshine annually. Each day will usually have about 57% of the hours in sunshine, and each year, Maryland will receive about 2,582 hours of sunshine. This is adequate to power homes with residential solar power systems.
The Benefits of Installing Residential Solar Power in Maryland
With an average retail electricity rate of 13.63 cents per hour, Maryland has an above average rate for electricity. This is above the national average of 12.95, and above the regional average for the South Atlantic. Others in the region, West Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, even the District of Columbia all have far lower rates for electricity.
Maryland’s above average rate for electricity is a great incentive to install a residential solar power system. Installing a solar power system can offer serious savings every month in the form of a lowered electricity bill. The potential for electricity savings is, of course, in addition to the rebates, tax breaks, utility payments, and other incentives available to Maryland residents. With a residential solar power system in Maryland, you’ll be able to pay for the cost of the system installation, as well as save monthly and annually on electricity, taxes, and more.
But beyond the financial savings, Maryland residents with a solar power system can be excited about their contribution to clean, renewable energy. You have to power your home — why not do it in an environmentally responsible way? With a solar power system, you’ll be powering your home with renewable energy that does not damage the environment. And your solar power system installation supports renewable energy in Maryland, allowing utilities to meet their goals for using solar power and encouraging the use of more clean energy for the state. And all you have to do is turn on your lights!
Get More Information About Residential Solar Power in Maryland
Learn more about the benefits and potential available with a residential solar power system in Maryland. Get started by contacting a solar power system installation company that can tell you more about incentives, requirements, and the cost a solar power system for your home.