Annapolis, MD — The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) has issued its first legislative scorecard ranking delegates and senators on their support for Maryland’s Community Solar Pilot Program during the 2021 – 2022 Sessions. Posted on the website of CCSA’s new Maryland affiliate, Maryland Community Solar Now, the scorecard grades elected officials on a scale of A+ to D, based on their votes for or against policy that would support and expand the state’s existing community solar program. We are pleased to announce that the majority of Maryland elected leaders support the creation and maintenance of a clean energy market that saves consumers money and delivers renewable energy to those who traditionally have been left out from receiving it.
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.
“Maryland legislators have demonstrated significant support for expanding the benefits of community solar to their constituents during this legislative session,” said Charlie Coggeshall, Director, Policy and Regulatory Affairs for CCSA. “The many grades of A and higher reflect the work these delegates and senators have done to expand equity in and access to solar energy that will help consumers save money and help the state meet clean energy and climate goals.”
CCSA compiled voting data on a set of key legislation in both 2021 and 2022. In 2021, legislators were graded on votes for or against HB 569 and SB 407, bills that would expand the state cap on community solar to 3,000 megawatts, which allows more customers access to the program.
In 2022, legislators were graded on votes for or against HB 1039 and HB 440. 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, while HB 440 will expand the permitted projects from two megawatts to five megawatts, reduce the land requirements for siting projects and increase private investment into local economies, creating more jobs. CCSA also analyzed votes on legislation relevant to community solar: SB 860 to create property tax credits for agrivoltaic projects and HB 936 to commission a solar land use study.
Legislators who voted in favor of all pieces of legislation received “A” grades. Those who voted yes and also sponsored legislation advancing community solar earned “A+” grades. The grading rubric applied for the scorecard is as follows:
B = 67%, 75%
C = 50%
D = 25%, 33%
F = 0%
“As a lifelong Maryland resident and long-time solar advocate, I can’t be more proud of the leadership shown by policy makers who passed several community solar related bills this year. Maryland was always considered a pioneer in community solar, but the additional legislative measures passed this year cement this legacy for years to come,” said Frances Yuhas, Director of Development at TurningPoint Energy.
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.