With virtual Net metering, sometimes referred to as Solar Gardens or Community Energy Generating Facilities, an array of solar panels is placed in a field, or installed on the roof of an apartment building, a box store, or any place where there is good solar access. A solar project developer obtains the land or building site, installs the panels, and then finds investors or subscribers to pay for the panels. The subscribers likely live off site but get credit for the power generated by the panels they have purchased through a reduction in their home utility bill.
This approach is being tried in other states and will be coming to Maryland soon. As of May 12th, 2015 HB1087 was signed into law by Governor Hogan! The Maryland Public Service Commission has until May of 2016 to implement regulations for this law. Interested in keeping up to date on community solar in Maryland? Sign up for our MD SUN newsletters.
A community solar law that provides virtual net metering is an important step forward, giving Marylanders who cannot install solar on their residences an opportunity to directly support and benefit from solar power, including all renters.
To learn more about what shared renewables models look like, check out the Interstate Renewable Energy Council “IREC-Model-Rules-for-Shared-Renewable-Energy-Programs-2013“