Maryland’s community solar program has the potential to reduce the energy burden of thousands of low- to moderate-income (LMI) Maryland households while generating clean and renewable solar power on developed land, such as rooftops and parking canopies in our cities and towns.
Maryland has had a community solar pilot program since 2017, providing home-owners, renters, and businesses equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy generation, regardless of where they live or their income-level. This bill would make community solar a permanent part of Maryland’s solar energy portfolio, and include other improvements to the program.
A key aspect of the legislation is the inclusion of utility consolidated billing, in which all energy charges are included in one bill from your local utility. Without this, participants in energy assistance programs have found it difficult to become community solar subscribers. We are calling on the utilities to provide consolidated billing to LMI households just as it does to other households in their service area.
The proposed bill will call for change the regulations to conform to the Justice 40 directive, requiring all projects to reserve at least 40% of their created energy for low-and-moderate income households, and those in census tracts that are both overburdened and underserved.
The bill also ensures that all Marylanders who pay their own utility bills can subscribe to most community solar projects as long as the project is in their utility service area (BGE, PEPCO, etc.).
This bill is also supported by: Coalition for Community Solar Access, Sierra Club – Maryland, Neighborhood Sun Solar, The Nature Conservancy MD/DC, Maryland PIRG, Climate Access Fund, Solar United Neighbors, Audubon Society – Maryland DC, Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, Interfaith Power and Light, NexAmp, Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland, Chessa, SunRun, Natural Resources Defense Council, EarthJustice, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
*According to the Climate Access Fund