- Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) signed HB 1087 and SB 398 into law, making it possible for the state to initiate a community shared solar program. The bills allow for a three-year pilot in which the state’s first community shared solar projects will be built. It also establishes the programs costs and rules for utilities.
- The bills allow utilities to own community shared solar projects but also require them to buy electricity from privately-developed arrays at the avoided electricity market price, a practice otherwise known as net metering.
- They bills also call for studies of best U.S. practices and of potential costs and benefits to Maryland from community shared solar. The studies will inform a General Assembly decision on creating a permanent community shared solar program.
With community shared solar, community members can "buy in" to a nearby solar installation and share in the financial or energy benefits through utility bill credits, according to a recent Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) report. Programs can be offered by utilities or through third-parties or community groups. Arrays can be sited on private or public buildings or at any green- or brown-field site.
Community shared solar is the “biggest trend” for solar at utilities, said SEPA Senior Research Manager and report co-author Becky Campbell, who said there are currently over 58 community arrays in 22 states.
New data in the DOE’s Shared Solar: Current Landscape, Market Potential, and the Impact of Federal Securities Regulation shows an estimated 49% of households and 48% of businesses are unable to host solar. “By opening the market to these customers,” it reports, “shared solar could represent 32% to 49% of the distributed PV market in 2020, thereby leading to cumulative PV deployment growth in 2015 to 2020 of 5.5 GW to 11.0 GW, and representing $8.2–$16.3 billion of cumulative investment.”