By: Dannielle Lipinski
Do you remember moving into your first apartment? I loved that feeling of independence. Along with finally being able to sort the recycling and start a compost pile that my roommates hated, I remember looking at our energy bill wondering how we can start to be a part of the clean energy revolution and fight climate change as consumers.
I had already convinced the roomies about energy-efficient lightbulbs and turning off the lights. However, when I talked about solar panels and wind turbines, they immediately shut me down. Now that I’m all “grown-up” and some of my “roommates” are my young son, a turtle, and a rambunctious dog, I can make a few more choices about my energy usage, not to mention still drive everyone crazy with compost ideas, rain barrels, and a garden that has grown a bit wild.
Through my work at Maryland LCV, I’ve worked on landmark legislation that helps all Marylanders combat climate change. In 2015, the General Assembly passed a fantastic law called the Community Solar Act (HB 1087). This is the pilot program that really changes the way we think about solar energy and who can benefit from its increased usage.
Homeowners who have looked at solar and determined that their living situation cannot support solar panels, they can still benefit from solar power. In addition, the law expands the benefits of solar to renters, churches, and others who have not been able to participate before. The great thing about community solar is that anyone and everyone can join in. In states like Minnesota and New York, community solar has really taken off.
And now it’s Maryland’s turn. With community solar, you can “share” the power generated at a nearby solar farm. You have the option of paying no upfront fees. There are no rate hikes and no surprises. Simply put, community solar is the wave of the future. Your solar will come from a local site within Maryland and you’ll be helping Maryland grow in solar energy.
Look into community solar today, and you can convince your roommates to take the plunge and join the clean energy revolution! Please check out the links below for more information on opportunities to sign up:
Solar United Neighbors: https://www.solarunitedneighbors.org/maryland/learn-the-issues-in-maryland/community-solar-in-maryland/
Here is more information about the Community Solar from the Public Service Commission: https://www.psc.state.md.us/electricity/community-solar-pilot-program/