I can’t tell you how many times people have steered clear of our booth at a farmers market or festival this summer, waving their hand and saying, “sorry, I have a shaded roof and can’t get solar,” or some version of that. These people’s confusion is preventing them from getting access to solar through a new program in Maryland called “community” or “community shared” solar. It’s a new way for people to get essentially the same benefits as rooftop solar without having to install anything on their roof. So, if you’ve looked into rooftop solar and found you can’t do it, or if you’ve just always thought rooftop solar is not for you, take a look at community solar.
The community solar program was established by legislation in Maryland in 2015, and after a lengthy regulatory process, opened up to the public early this summer. It’s a three-year pilot program that enables about 200 megawatts of solar projects to serve Maryland electric customers in Pepco, BG&E, Potomac Edison, and Delmarva Power. It all works through a process called “virtual net metering.” You subscribe to a project in your utility area and are then assigned a share of the project’s output. The kilowatt-hours of solar electricity produced by the project each month are put on your electric bill in the form of dollar credits. You get to reduce your electric bill while supporting a local, clean energy solar project right in your area.
So, even if you have a beautiful tree or two shading your roof, or you have an old roof, or a roof that faces the wrong direction, or you live in an apartment, or just don’t want anything on your roof, you can still access solar power right here in Maryland.
Neighborhood Sun is working on several community solar projects in Maryland. Our projects offer a 5% discount below the utility rates and a range of contract terms. To see if there’s a community shared solar project in your area, just follow this link.