On Feb. 16, a coalition of rooftop solar advocates, workforce development groups, energy equity champions and renewable energy companies launched a campaign to advocate for legislation that would make solar power more accessible and affordable for all Marylanders. Sponsored by Maryland Sen. Brian J. Feldman and Delegate Lily Qi, Senate Bill 664 (SB0664) and House Bill 1239 (HB1239), would increase the state’s residential clean energy grant from $1,000 to $5,000 to incentivize rooftop solar installations for Maryland residents, create local clean energy jobs and meet the state’s climate goals.
As Maryland Governor Wes Moore strives to meet some of the most ambitious clean energy standards in the country, the Maryland Rooftop Solar Coalition highlights the critical role rooftop solar will play in meeting those goals. This bill would fund rooftop solar grants through fees and penalties paid by companies that do not meet the state’s clean energy requirements, minimizing the cost to taxpayers and ensuring those fees are directed toward promoting renewable energy. It would also enhance clean energy incentives for low- and moderate-income residents, as well as those living in overburdened and underserved communities.
Incentivizing the adoption of residential rooftop solar will be crucial to achieving Maryland’s climate goals while preserving Maryland’s limited natural resources. The recently passed Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 set a statewide goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 60% below 2006 levels by 2032 and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. Providing equitable access to solar energy will also be a key aspect of expanding clean energy usage and cutting emissions, which will require outreach and assistance for low- and moderate-income families who have been disproportionately burdened by legacy polluting fossil fuel infrastructure.
“Maryland has set some of the nation’s most ambitious goals for reducing emissions and achieving climate equity. We cannot meet our state’s ambitious goals unless we make it easier for Maryland residents to enjoy the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy,” said Maryland State Sen. Brian Feldman, sponsor of SB0664. “With this bill we have an opportunity to reboot Maryland’s rooftop solar industry and create thousands of jobs in the process, while providing incentives that make solar power more accessible to lower-income households.”
“Expanding residential solar is an opportunity for Maryland to address the climate crisis while creating jobs and boosting our state’s economic competitiveness,” said Maryland Delegate Lily Qi, sponsor of HB1239. “This bill moves us toward Maryland’s ambitious climate goals in a way that is inclusive of households of all income levels and makes clean energy accessible to the communities who have disproportionately been affected by rising energy costs.”
News item from the Maryland Rooftop Solar Coalition