Community solar has been a rapidly developing part of the solar sector for years now and this trend looks set to continue throughout 2019 and beyond. One of the key benefits of community solar is the level of energy accessibility it provides to those who may be unable to house solar panels, or access solar otherwise. This egalitarian approach to renewable energy has been a driving force behind the explosion of community solar projects of late. One such proponent of this approach is the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA).
The MEA pushes for clean, sustainable energy for Maryland by awarding grants for the development of community solar projects. Just a couple of weeks back, the MEA announced the grants awarded as part of the 2019 Community Solar Low-and-Moderate Income Power Purchase Agreement (Community Solar LMI PPA) program. The awardees for 2019 are two Maryland companies - Power52 Foundation of Ellicott City and SGC Power of Elkridge. The cumulative $2.9 million awarded will go toward providing 8.6 MW of solar energy to the LMI community in Maryland. Projects will be spread across Baltimore, Cecil, Howard, Prince George’s and Washington counties, extending into BGE, Delmarva and Potomac Edison utility service areas.
The MEA designed this program with the specific needs of the LMI Maryland community in mind and the money awarded will benefit the community in the shape of cost savings, low escalation rates, and short subscription terms. The fact that the program incorporates a PPA element means that residents will bear no up-front costs for their participation. Maryland launched an overall community solar program just over two years ago, back in April 2017.
By Shane Croghan