Community Solar Pilot Program
The Maryland Public Service Commission has adopted regulations for a community solar pilot program in Maryland, with an emphasis on providing renewable energy benefits for low and moderate income customers. Community solar customers are expected to see some savings on their electric bills and all Marylanders will benefit from more clean energy options. How community solar works.
In addition, the program will encourage private investment in Maryland’s solar industry and diversify the state’s energy resource mix to meet Renewable Portfolio Standard and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act goals.
The utilities’ compliance tariffs have been approved by the Commission. Applications for subscriber organizations that are submitted to the Commission between April 10 and May 5, 2017 will be processed and released in an initial batch. Applications received after May 5, 2017 will be processed in order of receipt. Subscriber organizations will begin enrolling customers later this year.
The three-year community solar pilot program will:
- Provide access to solar-generated electricity – in a manner similar to rooftop solar and net metering – for all Maryland customers without requiring property ownership;
- Incentivize solar companies to provide service to low- and moderate-income customers;
- Set aside program capacity for each area of the state with a statewide cap at about 193 MW. About 60 MW is set aside for projects focused on low and moderate income customers;
- Attract new investment in Maryland’s renewable infrastructure and green economy;
- Allow renters to contract for solar energy with the same benefits as rooftop owners;
- Create separate program capacity for small systems and systems built on brownfields, parking lots, or industrial areas;
- Allow smaller and rural service territories to make use of existing solar facilities while encouraging construction of new systems in the urban and suburban areas of Maryland;
- Include significant consumer protections, including prohibition against unreasonable fees and clear contract disclosure requirements; and
- Allow the Commission Staff to collect necessary data to study the impact on Maryland’s electricity grid over the three-year pilot program.
Individual community solar projects will be operated by subscriber organizations (which can include utilities, retail electricity suppliers, solar developers, etc.) that are approved by the Public Service Commission and the electric company serving the location of each project.
For more information, please see Frequently Asked Questions.