New rules good for Maryland community solar

Yesterday, the Public Service Commission adopted favorable rules for the state’s community solar pilot program. These include a full retail credit for community solar energy on a subscriber’s bill with no subscription fees. This means if you subscribe to community solar (when projects become available), you’ll get the same value on your bill that you would receive if the solar were on your roof.

Other important aspects of the adopted regulations include:

  • A reasonable program size of approximately 218 MW distributed across Maryland. This is equal to about 2/3rds of all the solar currently installed in the state.
  • Space in the program for low-to-moderate income focused projects, smaller scale projects and projects in special areas like brown fields.
  • Utility and subscriber organization information sharing requirements to facilitate a pilot study by the Commission.
  • Detailed contract disclosure requirements for consumer protection.

What’s next? The adopted rules will go into the official Maryland register for a required public notice and comment period (typically 30 to 60 days). After that period they will become official. Utilities have 45 days after the regulations become official to file the associated tariffs for their service territories.

It can take time to develop larger solar projects. We anticipate that it may be closer to the end of 2016 before community solar subscriptions are available. As always, we’ll keep the MD SUN network updated along the way. Check out our community solar page to learn more.