- With a high level of solar energy exposure and ambitious targets for solar energy, Maryland is a top state for residential solar installations
- There are a number of grants, loans, rebates, tax breaks and other financial incentives for customers seeking to use solar energy in Maryland
- Enter your zip code in the form above to compare prices of solar installers in Maryland or you can read our Maryland solar guide below
Overview of Solar Systems in Maryland
It may not be the Mojave, but whether it’s Gaithersburg, Pocomoke City or Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland is no stranger to sunshine.
The state estimates 5.3kWh per square meter of solar energy exposure per diem — more than four and a half hours per day on average, and an average of 3.3 hours per day even in the depths of winter — leading to excellent conditions for solar power.
Residential solar power in Maryland is further helped by the state’s ambitious solar energy targets under the Renewable Portfolio Standard, and the incentives put in place in the last decade to spur growth toward those goals.
While some solar applications aren’t subsidized — you would not, for instance, be able to get incentives to use solar thermal on your hot tub — the state does offer generous incentives and SRECs to assist the growth of solar energy.
The solar industry’s success in Maryland is reflected by the more than 120 solar-related businesses in the state, and the residential customers that have made their growth possible.
Solar rebates in Maryland
The state of Maryland, and specifically the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) offer grants, loans, rebates, tax breaks and other financial incentives for customers seeking to use solar energy either in new home construction or the retrofitting of an existing structure.
These programs augment a plethora of existing Federal programs (about which you can find more information here). A few of the state’s key solar incentives are outlined below.
Maryland’s EmPOWER programs, including the EmPOWER Maryland program, connect residential customers to solar rebates sponsored by local utilities. The Maryland Home Energy Loan Program provides loans up to $20,000 for PV retrofits on existing residential structures, while the Residential Clean Energy Grant Program provides similar assistance, but in grant form.
Available tax credits include the Clean Energy Production Tax Credit, which is indexed to the amount of electricity generated by residential solar systems for a five-year period. If the system generates a minimum of 23,530 kWh/year, the residential customer receives a minimum credit of $1,000 per year. In addition, PV equipment is exempt from sales and use tax, as is the surplus electricity sold under the state’s Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) carve-out.
The Residential Clean Energy Grant Program credits homeowners up to $1,000 for the installation of approved photovoltaic panels. In addition to the previously mentioned programs, it’s also worth mentioning that several other initiatives exist at county and local levels.
Solar Panel Companies in Maryland
National Installers Operating in Maryland
SolarCity: Founded in California in 2006, SolarCity has taken advantage of the boom times for solar power in California to grow their business into a nationwide concern. While the business is heavily concentrated in the West and Southwest, it also has a significant presence on the east coast, and is one of the largest solar installers operating in Maryland.
SunRun: While a skilled solar install can help homeowners reap significant savings, the power source is just one part of a more complex equation. SunRun takes several other factors into account, helping their customers control energy spending via energy audits, purchase and lease options, and generous finance terms.
Vivint: Rather than just offering solar, Vivint provides an extended portfolio of “Smart Home Solutions” that leverage security, internet and cloud services and more, all in order to usher in the home of the future while saving customers money. The company operates nationwide in addition to Maryland.
Local Installers Operating in Maryland
Aurora Solar Energy is based in Howard County, Maryland. Aurora is a Sunpower Premier Dealer and installer that serves eastern Maryland. Their installation team is NABCEP certified, and in addition to photovoltaic installations, the company also installs solar thermal systems as well as performance monitoring applications that can further augment your home’s energy efficiency.
Kenergy Solar is based in Washington, DC and serves Maryland as well as the DC metropolitan area. An owner-operated business, Kenergy services both business and residential solar customers. The company offers full lifecycle service, from sale or lease of the solar cells to the design of the solar array to paperwork, permits, and installation.
SolarGaines is also a NABCEP Certified Solar PV installer, and serves Maryland and the DC metro. The company custom engineers solar systems to best fit customers’ needs, and provides lease, loan, purchase and PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) options for PV systems. The company supports its installations with a limited warranty and lifetime service.
Maryland Solar Solutions is unique in two respects. First, it’s a woman-owned business (one whose owner, Colette Hayward, has earned a great deal of respect within the industry). Second, unlike many of its competitors, who frequently have sidelines in roofing, HVAC, geothermal, and the like, MSSI specializes strictly in commercial and residential solar power installs. The Owings Mills-based company provides full support and service, as well as energy and performance monitoring.
While Maryland isn’t quite the solar powerhouse that states like California, Nevada, and Arizona have proven to be, it has held its own in meeting some ambitious goals for sustainability and renewable energy. With Federal incentives in place at least through 2016, and Maryland’s own efforts in grant making, tax breaks for solar energy, a favorable regulatory climate, and falling prices for photovoltaic systems, the future of solar in Maryland is looking as bright as a summer day in Ocean City.