Across the U.S. and Maryland, solar power is booming as a source of energy, benefiting consumers, communities, and our climate. Solar energy not only reduces our carbon footprint and decreases air pollution, but it is quickly overtaking fossil fuels as the leading job creator in the energy sector. The number of solar jobs in the U.S. has reached over 260,000! The solar industry has helped create one out of every 50 new U.S. jobs added in 2016. In fact, there are more people working in solar now than at oil rigs and in gas fields. In Maryland, over 5,400 people are employed by the solar industry. That number is expected to increase with the momentum of our community solar campaign.
If you live in the Pepco region in Maryland, sign up for community solar today!
(For all other regions, see sign-up information below).
Go Solar & Save Money
What is Community Solar?
Maryland’s community solar pilot program allows families to take advantage of the cost savings of solar without having to own their home or install equipment on their property.
Community solar allows customers that rent, have shady roofs, or are otherwise unable to install solar on their residences or commercial buildings to buy or subscribe to a portion of a shared solar system. The subscriber’s share of the electricity generated by the project is credited to their electricity bill, just as if the solar system were located at the home or business.
How Does it Work?
Under Maryland’s community solar program, households can own or subscribe to a small share (two kilowatts or more) of a larger solar project that is sited in their community, but not on their property. The solar project delivers all the power it produces into the grid, and the local utility redistributes this power among its customers. The household then receives a credit on their monthly utility bill for the amount of electricity their share of the system produced. This arrangement is called “virtual net-metering.”
Solar projects may vary from community to community, depending on the solar developer, the utility company that serves the region, and the customer’s requirements. Yet, no matter the structure of the project, all of the projects will be designed so that solar subscribers will see lower rates. This is welcome news in the wake of the disastrous Exelon-Pepco merger. Mere weeks after getting final approval for its merger, the energy behemoth Exelon-Pepco filed for massive rate hikes in Maryland.
Developers are just now getting started putting together community solar projects. The Maryland Public Service Commission released draft guidance for regulating the state’s new community solar pilot program in February 2016, and it was finalized in the spring of 2017. CCAN supports the pilot program. Operators of community solar projects are submitting applications to the PSC between April 10 and May 5, 2017 to be submitted into the first year of the program. The operators, known as subscriber organizations, are currently enrolling customers. Maryland is hoping to install 200 megawatts of solar energy through this plan.
Sign up to let us know you’re interested in community solar, and we’ll let you know as soon as projects get off the ground!
Who Can Sign Up?
Anyone! Anyone who has an account with a utility in Maryland and meets the individual requirements can join — no roof required.
Importantly, the pilot program was designed to provide low- and moderate-income households an opportunity to participate in community solar — the working families of our community.
This commitment to making solar accessible to everyone is critical because, even as solar electricity takes off, working families account for only a small fraction of all residential solar installations. This problem is stark in Maryland. According to the Center for American Progress, only one percent of residential solar has been installed in Maryland communities where median household incomes are below $40,000. Maryland’s community solar program is a major step towards a more equitable clean energy economy.
If you live anywhere other than the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) service territory, you can sign up for community solar today! Neighborhood Sun and CleanChoice Energy are taking subscribers. Go to their websites to sign up and see what’s being offered in YOUR region.
- Click HERE to go to Neighborhood Sun’s general sign-up page.
- Click HERE to go to CleanChoice Energy’s sign-up page.
Get more information:
- Click HERE for Neighborhood Sun’s frequently asked questions and answers.
- Click HERE to request further information from CleanChoice.
If you live in the Pepco region of Montgomery or Prince George’s Counties, you can sign up right now through Neighborhood Sun to have a $100 donation given to CCAN in your name. Click HERE to do so – CCAN (and the planet) will thank you!
If you get your energy from Delmarva Power, you can sign up right now through Neighborhood Sun to get locally produced solar power AND have a $100 donation given to CCAN in your name. Sign up at www.neighborhoodsun.solar/ccan today!
Cleanchoice Energy: BGE customers can save up to 10% off their utility rate by joining a local Community Solar Farm.* No rooftop
Neighborhood Sun and CleanChoice Energy are both offering projects in BGE territory.
Cleanchoice Energy: BGE customers can save up to 10% off their utility rate by joining a local Community Solar Farm.* No rooftop required and no money down.
- Click here to sign up for community solar with CleanChoice: https://cleanchoiceenergy.com/communitysolar/ccan/
Neighborhood Sun: BGE customers will save 5% off their utility rates, or 15% if they meet low- or moderate-income requirements.
- Click here to sign up for community solar with Neighborhood Sun: https://neighborhoodsun.solar/bge-projects/
For all projects, you’ll use electricity exactly as you do now and BGE will continue to maintain the wires. And, there’s no new equipment or home visit needed. Low-income customers are eligible for exclusive benefits and there are a limited number of spots available, so sign up today for solar savings with no installation or maintenance.
*Terms and conditions vary by project. Customers should review all details in Contract or Subscription Agreement
Have any questions or want to get involved in bringing community solar in your neighborhood? Email Taylor Smith-Hams, CCAN’s Healthy Communities Campaign Organizer, at email@example.com.
- Community Solar = Solar for Everyone Fact Sheet, CCAN, October 2018
- A Just Transition for Baltimore: From Pollution and Dangerous Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy and Good Jobs, CCAN, June 2017
- Voluntary Green Power Procurement, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, April 2017
- A Few Highlights from the New Maryland Community Solar Program, Neighborhood Sun, March 2016
- “Maryland strives to install 200 megawatts of solar in three years,” The Frederick News Post, 04/05/2017
- “What Maryland’s New Guidelines Mean for Community Solar,” Groundswell, 03/18/2016