Maryland legislation would incentivize low-income community solar, increase net-metering cap
Along with the community solar industry, environmental and low-income attorneys today applauded the completion of legislation in Maryland that will improve the state’s clean energy economy while increasing access to solar energy for underserved communities. HB1039 will encourage the development of community solar projects for low-income communities, as well as project development on contaminated land and roofs. HB440 will expand allowable netted projects from 2 MW to 5 MW, reduce land requirements for siting projects, increase private investment in local economies and create more jobs. Both are awaiting Governor Larry Hogan’s signature.
If HB 1039 is signed by the governor, community solar projects are exempt from state or municipal property taxes if they meet one of the following three criteria:
- They provide at least 50% energy to low to middle income customers at a cost that is at least 20% less than the amount charged by the electric company serving the area.
- be used for agrivoltaic,
- or installed on a rooftop, brownfield, landfill or clean fill.
“Community solar is one way to bring many more Marylanders into the clean energy economy that were previously left behind,” said Lynn Heller, founder and CEO of the Baltimore-based Climate Access Fund. “To mitigate the growing threats of climate change, we need more solar energy, more participation and more action from our elected officials. These accounts help us achieve all three goals.”
Maryland’s Community Solar Pilot program will help build capacity to meet the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards. The Clean Energy Jobs Act passed in 2019 requires half of Maryland’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2030.
“HB 1039 and HB 440 send a signal to the community solar industry that Maryland welcomes the private sector as a way to inject capital into grid modernization and build a new energy market that can support the state’s economy,” said Leslie Elder, Mid-Atlantic Director of the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA). “We thank the Maryland General Assembly for passing these bills and Governor Hogan for its support.”
News release from the Coalition for Community Solar Access