Solar Energy Progress

RPS Goals

Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires that 2% of the state’s energy come from solar, or about 1,200 MW, by 2020.  The solar RPS goal for 2013 was 136.5 MW. 

As of late December 2013, Maryland had ~ 158 MW of installed capacity (according to PJM GATS reports), broken out by these market sector scales illustrated by this chart:

For more information on specific solar energy projects, see MEA’s Smart Energy Investment Map.  

Incentives

Federal

  • The Business Energy Investment Tax Credit allows 30% tax credit for installed solar energy systems. A number of changes to this credit are scheduled to take effect The credit for solar energy equipment will decrease from 30% to 10% for systems placed in service after December 31, 2016.

  • The Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS) + Bonus Depreciation (2008-2013) allows businesses to recover investments in solar technologies through depreciation deductions as five-year property under the MACRS. 
    • The federal Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 included a 50% first-year bonus depreciation for solar energy systems placed in service in 2008. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended the deadline to December 31, 2013.
  • The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Creditallows taxpayers to claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a solar energy system that serves a residence. 

Maryland

  • Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC) are created for each MWh of solar energy generated.  SRECs are a leading price support mechanism for solar and are essentially clean energy attributes that can be traded on the open market, per Maryland’s RPS. Electricity suppliers must purchase and retire SRECs in order to meet their compliance obligations under the law, or pay a Solar Alternative Compliance Payment for any SREC purchase shortfalls.

Clean Energy Grants

    • MEA offers grants for clean energy systems installed at primary residences in Maryland through its Residential Clean Energy Grant Program

    • MEA offers grants for clean energy systems installed at businesses, local governments, and non-profits through its Commercial Clean Energy Grant Program

Clean Energy Production Tax Credit

    • MEA’s Clean Energy Production Tax Credit offers Marylanders a state income tax credit for electricity generated by solar PV systems (over 20 kW) of 0.85 cents per kWh.

    • These credits can be claimed over a period of five years.

    • Annual tax credits cannot exceed one fifth of the initial credit certificate issued by the Maryland Energy Administration.

Other

Public/Private Partnerships

MEA actively engages with the local solar industry, e.g. through the MDV-SIEA, to improve compliance issues, to support target markets, to bring innovative technologies to Maryland, and to analyze policies that would further develop the solar market.

  • MEA’s Sunburst I Program helped public building owners and managers add 8.8 MW of solar PV by 2012, primarily through streamlining the adoption of Power Purchase Agreements
    • These innovative financing agreements allow non-tax paying entities to bring in private sector partners that can take advantage of Federal incentives and to install solar energy systems with no upfront costs and at very little risk.
  • MEA worked closely with the Department of General Services and the University System of Maryland to develop a solar RFP for state agencies and higher educational facilities.
  • MEA’s Game Changer Program offers competitive grants for innovative clean energy generation projects that showcase innovative technologies that will help the State meet its RPS goals, encourage local economic development, and reduce greenhouse gases.

In 2013 and 2014, MEA is working closely with the solar industry to reduce the permitting and inspection “soft costs” of installing solar, strategic and responsible siting of larger solar installations, intermodal pricing related to wheeling, and other issues that will contribute to continued and predictable growth of the solar market in Maryland.

Helpful Documents and Websites

Questions?

Contact Clean Energy Program Manager Marta Tomic via email at marta.tomic@maryland.gov or phone at 410-260-2608.