Calling on Community Solar Fans in Maryland!

Raise Your Voice for HB818! A Community Solar “One Bill” Solution. 

March 31, 2022 Update:

MARYLAND ACTION ALERT:   SUPPORT HB 818 THE COMMUNITY SOLAR BILL

HB 818 is a small bill with a massive positive impact for thousands of low and moderate income Marylanders who want to participate in community solar, but are unbanked and don’t have credit cards. The bill will allow all community solar charges to be put onto the electric utility bill, doing away with the need for customers to have credit cards or bank ach for payment.

The bill, sponsored by Del. Luke Clippinger of Baltimore, passed the House and its fate now rests in the Senate Finance Committee.

Please call or email the following key Senators. If we get them on board, the bill will pass the committee and then likely pass the whole Senate.

Take action now! The bill’s fate could be decided in a matter of days.

Talking Points (keep it real simple)

  • Please support HB 818 the community solar bill
  • The bill allows thousands of low and moderate income Marylanders to get access to community solar.
  • The bill has no cost to ratepayers or taxpayers, but will help low and moderate income Marylanders save money.

Name

District

City/County

Email

Phone

Delores Kelley (Chair)

10

Baltimore

[email protected]

410-841-3606 | 301-858-3606

Brian Feldman (Vice Chair)

15

Montgomery

[email protected]

410-841-3169 | 301-858-3169

Malcolm Augustine

47

Prince George’s

[email protected]

410-841-3745 | 301-858-3745

Pamela Beidle

32

Anne Arundel

[email protected]

410-841-3593 | 301-858-3593

Joanne Benson

24

Prince George’s

[email protected]

 410-841-3148 | 301-858-3148

Antonio Hayes

40

Baltimore

[email protected]

410-841-3656 | 301-858-3656

Katherine Klausmeier

8

Baltimore

[email protected]

410-841-3620 | 301-858-3620

Ben Kramer

19

Montgomery

[email protected]

410-841-3151 | 301-858-3151

 


 

Consider writing testimony for HB818, calling your legislators, or emailing the Committee. Ideally, before February 24th, HB818’s hearing is that day at 1pm. 

Maryland’s Community Solar product is a climate game changer. Legislated in 2015, the law makes solar a reality for everyone. Since the 2015 Community Solar Act, the 5-year pilot launch has proven successful. Yet like all new products, there are things that need to be tweaked. 

A HUGE fix for Community Solar’s low-income families, HB818 paves the way for Maryland’s Community Solar program to be billed on one utility bill.

Designed with an environmental justice vision, Maryland’s Community Solar program offers income-eligible families discounts up to 25% off the community solar rates on their electricity bill.

Yet today’s Community Solar billing doesn’t work for many low-income families, it’s invoiced on two separate bills (utility and solar developer).

THE PROBLEM

We’ve learned a lot during the 5-year pilot program phase. Many low-income families can’t enroll  in projects meant to serve them. WHY? One key reason is…

  • No credit cards: Two separate bills requires a debit or credit card. Many low-income families don’t use these banking options.
  • Losing “OHEP” energy assistance: Energy assistance is only paid to utilities. With separate billing, families receiving energy assistance who join Community Solar lose part – even most – of their energy assistance grants.

THE SOLUTION – HB818 

Community Solar charges to be billed on ONE utility consolidated bill — say a BGE or Pepco bill — just as it’s done for other third-party energy programs. 

HB818 BENEFITS

  1. Utility Consolidated Billing already in place. 400,000 MD accounts use it today.
  2. More low-income families on Community Solar discounts means more affordable utility bills and lower past-due balances (arrearages).
  3. Realize the legislature’s original environmental justice vision – equal solar access for all.

Social Media Posts:

  • HB818 helps MD realize Community Solar’s original environmental justice vision — equal solar access for all. 
  • A HUGE fix for the Community Solar’s low-income families.  HB818 paves the way for Maryland’s offsite solar program to be billed on one BGE, Pepco or Delmarva electric utility bill, a “utility consolidated bill.” 
  • HB818 means one, convenient electricity bill for Community Solar families. 
  • HB818 Community Solar Bill + Low-income families = Lower bills + lower arrearages.
  • HB818 means Maryland’s 400,000 low-income families can be part of the climate solution. 
  • Community Solar’s electricity discounts means sustainable utility bills = affordable and true, locally generated clean energy. 
  • More low-income families on Community Solar discounts = more affordable utility bills and lower arrearages.

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