Maryland Approves Pilot Program for Community Solar Projects

 

ASTI Newsletter | Summer 2015 Edition | by Tyler Espinoza

Maryland has become the latest state to allow the development of community solar projects.  On May 12, 2015, Governor Larry Hogan approved a law requiring the Public Service Commission (PSC) to establish a three-year pilot community solar program.

Community solar projects expand access to solar energy for customers that do not own their roof, such as apartment renters or condo-owners, or those that do not have a suitable roof for solar.  This ownership model allows multiple customers to invest in or subscribe to a solar project (typically a solar farm) located at an off-site location and receive a credit on their utility bill based on their share of the solar energy generated by the system.

The PSC is required to adopt regulations implementing the pilot program by May 15, 2016.  Several key provisions were included in the legislation:  Individual system sizes may be no greater than 2 megawatts (MW); subscriptions larger than 200 kilowatts cannot constitute more than 60% of its subscriptions; and the cumulative installed nameplate capacity under the pilot program counts toward the overall statewide net-metered capacity limit of 1,500 MW.

In consultation with the Maryland Energy Authority, the law requires the PSC to convene a stakeholder workgroup to study the value and costs of the pilot program and make recommendations whether to establish a permanent program.  The PSC will report its findings and recommendations to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Economic Matters Committee by July 1, 2019.  Read more.

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