Maryland is a small, mid-Atlantic state that gets an average of about 5 kilowatt hours per square meter of sunlight per day, which is plenty for installing a photovoltaic (PV) or other solar system. To help more homes and businesses adopt solar power, the state offers homeowners numerous incentives, including rebates, low- or no-interest rate loans, oodles of tax breaks, net-metering and performance-based incentives. Counties, municipalities and utilities in the state also offer incentives for switching to renewable energy.
The state has developed its EmPOWERing Maryland Clean Energy Programs through the Maryland Energy Administration and through law, like the EmPOWERing Maryland Act, which Gov. Martin O’Malley signed into law in 2008. Under that law, the state must reduce its overall energy use by 15 percent by the year 2015. The program is funded partly through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the state Strategic Energy Investment Fund as of 2010. Through the programs, the state is offering incentives to Maryland residents and companies to promote energy efficiency, renewable power—like solar, wind and hydro—finance clean energy development, and inform consumers about their renewable options.
The O’Malley administration also developed its “Smart, Green and Growing” initiative to help reduce energy bills at home, create green collar jobs, and promote energy independence.
Under these programs, the energy administration will offer renewable energy grants to roughly 1,700 homeowners in 2010 to install solar or other renewable energy generating sources at their homes. And the state is making millions available to counties and municipalities for renewable projects and more localized incentive programs.
By combining applicable incentives, you can drastically reduce the amount you would pay for a solar system on your home in Maryland.
Corporate Tax Credit
Local Rebate Program
Personal Tax Credit
Property Tax Exemption
Sales Tax Exemption
State Grant Program
State Loan Program
State Rebate Program
Utility Rebate Program
Rules, Regulations & Policies
Appliance/Equipment Efficiency Standards
Building Energy Code
Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Green Power Purchasing/Aggregation
Renewables Portfolio Standard
Solar Access Law/Guideline
Related Programs & Initiatives
The U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC) provides a wide range of information and resources to enable the use of alternative fuels and other petroleum-reduction options, such as advanced vehicles, fuel blends, idle reduction and fuel economy. The AFDC site offers a database of state and federal laws and incentives related to alternative fuels and vehicles, air quality, fuel efficiency, and other transportation-related topics.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Network provides news and information on green power markets and activities, including opportunities to buy green power. This site provides state-by-state information on green power marketing and utility green power programs. In addition, the site lists marketers of renewable energy credits (RECs), also known as green tags or renewable energy certificates, which represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy-efficient. Through this program, weatherization service providers install energy-efficiency measures in the homes of qualifying homeowners free of charge. The WAP program web site offers a state-by-state map of opportunities, projects and activities.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America site provides state-by-state information on wind projects and activities, including wind working groups, validated wind maps, anemometer loan programs, small wind guides, state-specific news, wind for schools, workshops and web casts.
|Program Type||Personal Tax Credit|
|Technologies||Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics and other renewables|
|Amount||$0.85 per kilowatt hour (kWh) produced|
|Required Documentation||Initial Credit Certificate Application and net metering or interconnection agreement|
|Official Web Site||http://energy.maryland.gov/incentives/allprograms/cep_taxcredit.a|
The Clean Energy Production Tax Credit allows property owners in Maryland to receive a state-income-tax break over a five-year period for qualifying renewable energy installations.
To qualify, the building must use the renewable energy as its primary energy source. And it must be placed in service between Jan. 1, 2006 and Jan. 1, 2016.
An individual or corporation that applies for and receives certification from the Maryland Energy Administration may claim a credit equal to 0.85 cents per kilowatt-hour ($0.0085/kWh) against the state income tax, for a five-year period, for electricity generated by eligible resources. To meet the minimum, the installation needs to produce 23.5 megawatt hours a year. An additional requirement is that electricity produced by the installation may not be sold to a relative during the tax year.
|Program Type||Net Metering|
|Required Documentation||Not specified (arranged with local utility)|
|Official Web Site||http://www.energy.maryland.gov/facts/renewable/netmetering.asp|
Currently under Maryland’s net-excess generation rules, credits are accrued when a grid-tied customer generates electricity in excess of his or her use and supplies it to the grid. The extra produced energy is discounted at the current rate of retail electricity. But excess generation over the consumers’ use is not compensated.
Under a law passed in 2010, net-energy generation is carried from one billing period to the next until either the customer requests payment for the credit at the end of a 12-month period or until the customer’s usage exceeds the generation. Under the new law, the credit appears on the customer’s bill as a dollar figure. The law should go into effect in October 2010.
Net metering is available throughout Maryland until 1,500 MW of generation in the state is net-metered. Size is limited to a 2 MW system, and it must be intended to offset a portion, if not all, of on-site energy needs. Customers own and have title to all renewable-energy credits, which can be sold to utilities through a separate incentive program. Utilities are required to install a bi-directional meter at a customer's building and offer net metering at no charge to the consumer.
The rules apply to all utilities operating in Maryland and residents, businesses, schools, and government entities can qualify for the incentive program. Under Maryland’s net-metering laws, customers that own the system outright or own it through a power purchase agreement or a lease can qualify for net-metering.
|Technologies||Dependent on local government|
|Amount||Up to $12,500 for energy efficiency and up to $30,000 for renewable energy installations|
|Required Documentation||Must apply for eligibility with local government|
|Official Web Site||http://energy.maryland.gov/incentives/residential/PaceInitiative.asp|
The Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program offers homeowners a chance to finance their solar power project by taking out a loan from the state or local government. Under PACE, local governments can issue bonds to create a funding pool for PACE applicants. The bond maturity period may be no longer than 40 years under the law. Local governments control the bond’s interest rates, payment intervals, sales terms, and conditions for early bond redemptions, among other issues.
Local governments specify property owner eligibility for the program. They also specify which technologies or energy efficiency projects are eligible under the loan program..
Loans may be up to $30,000 for a renewable energy project. Lesser amounts are allowed for other energy-efficiency projects. The loan is repaid by implementing a property tax assessment on the applicant’s land. While this is a state-backed program, the programs are developed by local governments.
The loans themselves are repaid through the property tax assessment and repayment is limited to the repayment amount, the amount needed to recover the cost of issuing bonds, financing loans, and administering the program. The assessment stays with the property if the owner sells it before the assessment is paid off. Property owners also must prove their ability to repay the loan through a process similar to the mortgage loan approval process.
|Technologies||Solar Water Heat, Solar Thermal Process Heat, Photovoltaics|
For systems up to 2 kW $1.25 per Watt, systems between 2 kW and 10 kW $0.50 per Watt, and systems between
10 kW and 20 kW $0.35 per Watt
Application form, a reviewed and signed Solar Grant Program Terms and Conditions form, a signed cost estimate,
purchase order, or letter of intent from an installer
|Official Web Site||http://energy.maryland.gov/incentives/residential/solargrants/ind|
The Solar Energy Grant Program offers home and building owners a rebate of up to $1.25 per DC (direct current) watt of photovoltaics (PV) installed. Systems up to 2 kW receive the full $1.25 per kW. The incentive falls to $0.50 per Watt for systems between 2 kW and 10 kW. PV arrays between 10 kW and 20 kW will receive an incentive of $0.35 per Watt. The incentive tops out at $10,000. In addition, solar water heating systems are also eligible for a rebate of up to $2,000 or 30 percent of the system’s total cost. PV systems don’t have to be grid-tied to qualify for the incentive.
To qualify for the incentive, residential PV arrays must be at least 500 Watts. Solar hot water heating systems must be at least 20 square feet to qualify. The state accepts applications for any system that goes into operation during the year in which the building owner submits the grant application. If a building is more than 50 years old or in a historic district and the proposed installation is on the front of the building, than applicants must submit a Maryland Historical Trust Project Review form to the Maryland Historical Trust. The trust will evaluate the site and respond with how the applicant should proceed.
Maryland anticipates approving 100 grants a month through the end of fiscal year 2011 or until the funds are fully committed. The fiscal year 2010 budget includes $5.8 million for the rebate program and is funded by the Maryland Strategic Energy Investment Fund and ARRA money. The program was funded through federal stimulus money and appropriations from carbon emission allowance auctions, which is part of Maryland’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The grants do not count as income for state tax purposes.