Things are looking good for the future of community solar in Maryland. After months of stakeholder meetings and research, the Public Service Commission (PSC) staff has crafted draft regulations that will spark a robust community solar market in the state. The 26 pages of regulations cover, sometimes in detail, the structure of a pilot program to develop 300MW or more of community solar over the next three years. For the most part, the draft regulations come out very favorable towards those like yours truly who want this market to take off.
Community solar, or “solar gardens,” is a central solar project that serves multiple customers who cannot otherwise get solar on their roof. Likely customers include renters, small businesses, homeowners with shaded or old roofs, and low to moderate income residents. It’s this last category of potential consumer that’s the most exciting. Imagine a world where everyone, not just affluent suburbanites, can get affordable clean, renewable energy.
The way the system is shaping up in Maryland, there are a few salient points to keep in mind.
- Subscribers to the community solar project will get credit for full retail rate for the solar they purchase, meaning they will very likely save money on their electricity bills.
- Commercial customers can participate, but one large customer cannot account for more than 60% of the project’s output.
- The utilities will be required to facilitate the subscription by giving customers credits on their electricity bills.
- There are many consumer protections in the regulations, to ensure a fair market. However, some of the regulations may inadvertently dampen the market and need to be adjusted in the final regulations.
Deeper Green is gearing up to become a big player in the Maryland community solar market. Our aim is to bring solar to the communities that have not had it before. Stay tuned for more news on that front.