The Maryland Energy Administration
(MEA) has developed the FY20 Community Solar LMI PPA Incentive Grant Program
(LMI-PPA Program) to help extend the benefits of community solar projects to
members of the Low and Moderate Income (LMI) community. The program seeks to achieve this by incentivizing
community solar subscriber organizations to include terms and conditions in
their Subscription Agreements, which maximize cost savings over the contract
period for LMI subscribers.
This program is only open to subscriber
organizations that have been assigned LMI Capacity under the Maryland Community
Solar Pilot Program, or those projects in the “Other” category subscribing at
least 51% of their energy to LMI subscribers.
The incentives under the Program
are designed for a project with a 20-year lifetime. Therefore, a grantee must require that any
new owner comply with all of the grant conditions as a part of any subsequent change
of control or ownership of the project.
The Maryland Community Solar Pilot Program commenced in April 2017. Community solar is a form of virtual net energy metering where the consumer gets energy credit on a local bill for energy produced off-site (but within the same electric utility service area). The Maryland Public Service Commission has authorized certain project developers (“Subscriber Organizations”) to participate in the pilot program. This programs allows Maryland residents and businesses (“Subscribers”) to purchase subscriptions for energy from Subscription Organizations, gaining the same economic advantages as having solar modules directly on their roofs.
To help assure that the LMI community may effectively participate in the Community Solar Pilot Program, MEA focused on addressing two issues in its FY 20 LMI-PPA Program: (1) Sufficient savings - LMI households’ priority will be to save money, and therefore, any subscription offered to them must provide a sizeable amount of savings; (2) Validation - to participate as an LMI subscriber, each household will need to be validated as meeting the LMI definition set forth in the Pilot Program requirements of the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR). Accordingly, MEA will award grants as part of the LMI-PPA Program to Subscriber Organizations that can effectively address these two issues.
Each application should include contract periods shorter than 20 years for members of the LMI Community. Please note that, while MEA provided an incentive to assure a shorter contract term during the FY 18 grant program, this will not be available for the FY 20 LMI PPA Program. The need for such an incentive was not found to be necessary as Subscriber Organizations already intended to offer LMI households short contract terms (or to make it easy and inexpensive for them to get out of the contract).
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