Coalition for Community Solar Access Applauds New Solar Laws that Strengthen Maryland’s Clean Energy Economy, Expand Solar Access

May 31st, 2022

Annapolis, MD — Together with the community solar industry, environmental and low-income advocates today cheered the finalization of legislation that will improve the state’s clean energy economy while increasing access to solar energy for underserved communities. HB 1039 will incentivize the development of community solar projects that serve low income communities as well as project development on contaminated lands and rooftops. HB 440 will expand the permitted projects from two megawatts to five megawatts, reduce the land requirements for siting projects, increase private investment into local economies and create more jobs.

“As both a physician and an environmental advocate, I am thrilled that Maryland can build on the foundation we have been laying for community solar over the last few years and double down on our commitment to clean, renewable energy,” said Dr. Al Barlett with the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club. “More solar energy means less carbon pollution that contributes to climate change, exacerbates air pollution and harms our health.” 

Community solar projects are small solar installations typically located on contaminated land such as brownfields and landfills, underutilized farmland or large rooftops. The property owner can earn income by leasing space for the solar panels, and community members can choose to subscribe to the project, earning savings on their electricity bill each month.  

Community solar provides options for those who cannot finance installing solar panels on one’s own home, expands new choices and access to solar-generated power for all customers, including renters, residents of multi-unit buildings, homeowners with roof shading issues and low-to-moderate-income customers. 

“Community solar is a way to bring many more Marylanders into the clean energy economy who had previously been left behind,” said Lynn Heller, Founder and CEO of the Baltimore-based Climate Access Fund. “In order to mitigate the growing threats of climate change, we need more solar, more participation and more action from our elected officials. These bills help us achieve all three objectives.

Maryland’s Community Solar Pilot Program will help create capacity to meet the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards. The Clean Energy Jobs Act passed in 2019 requires half of Maryland’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2030.

“HB 1039 and HB 440 send a signal to the community solar industry that Maryland welcomes the private sector as a way to inject capital into grid modernization and build a new energy market that can bolster the state’s economy,” said Leslie Elder, Mid-Atlantic Director for the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA). “We thank the Maryland General Assembly for passing these bills and Governor Hogan for his support.”

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The Coalition for Community Solar Access is a national coalition of businesses and non-profits working to expand customer choice and access to solar for all American households and businesses through community solar. Our mission is to empower every American energy consumer with the option to choose local, clean and affordable community solar. We work with customers, utilities, local stakeholders and policymakers to develop and implement policies and best practices that ensure community solar programs provide a win, win, win for all, starting with the customer. For more information, visit https://www.communitysolaraccess.org and follow the group on Twitter, and LinkedIn.