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Maryland Legislation Would Encourage Low-Income Community Solar Power and Increase Net Metering Cap

A Nexamp community solar project

Working with the community solar industry, environmental advocates and low-income people today applauded the finalization of legislation in Maryland that will improve the state’s clean energy economy while by increasing access to solar energy for underserved communities. HB 1039 will encourage the development of community solar projects that serve low-income communities as well as the development of projects on contaminated land and rooftops. HB 440 will expand authorized net metering projects from 2MW to 5MW, reduce land requirements for siting projects, increase private investment in local economies, and create more jobs. Both await Governor Larry Hogan’s signature.

If HB 1039 is signed by the governor, community solar projects will be exempt from county or municipal property tax if they meet one of three criteria:

  • They supply at least 50% of the energy to low-to-middle income customers at a cost that is at least 20% lower than the amount charged by the electricity company serving the area,
  • are used for agrivoltaic,
  • or are installed on a rooftop, brownfield site, landfill or clean fill.

“Community solar is a way to bring many more Marylanders into the clean energy economy who have been left behind before,” said Lynn Heller, founder and CEO of the Washington-based Climate Access Fund. Baltimore. “In order to mitigate the growing threats of climate change, we need more solar, more participation and more action from our elected officials. These bills help us achieve all three goals.

The Maryland Community Solar Pilot Program will help create the capacity to meet the state’s renewable energy 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 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 his support.”

News article from the Coalition for Community Solar Access