Going solar has never been easier for Maryland

Story by Zadie Oleksiw at the Baltimore Sun


One weekend on the drive to my parents’ house during my junior year at the University of Maryland in 2010, my mom took us on a detour to admire our neighborhood’s very first solar home.

The owner, Philip Ardanuy, has since told me that he and his wife took the plunge for two reasons: to reduce both their carbon footprint and their power bills. And today, eight years after going solar, the couple’s average utility bill comes out to a grand total of zero.

Like so many people my age, I am deeply concerned about the impact of climate change. My own stake in the crisis is the reason I majored in environmental science, pursued a career in renewable energy, and came to appreciate early solar adopters like Mr. Ardanuy, who was quick to point out that he’s a registered Republican, making it clear that not just Democrats care about the environment.

Now, everyone from public schools to military bases use solar as a means to reduce energy costs. People are sometimes surprised to learn that one of the state’s largest private installations is in Cecil County and owned by major retail giant Ikea. For many such customers, the climate and environmental benefits are often secondary to guaranteed savings.

In addition to the precipitous drop in solar technology costs over the last decade, there are a number of policy factors that make solar feasible for so many Marylanders.

The state’s net metering policy, for example, allows households like the Ardanuys’ to offset their electricity costs by crediting customers’ utility bills for the excess power they generate.

For residents who rent or lack optimal roof space (my parents’ rooftop is shaded by big trees), a new statewide community solar program lets participants earn the bill-saving benefits of solar by subscribing to a local array.

Maryland is also one of 29 states with clean energy laws requiring utilities... Read the rest of the story on BaltimoreSun.com HERE