Proposed Maryland Bill Seeks to Enhance Residential Rooftop Solar Funding
On February 16th, a coalition of solar power advocates, energy equity champions, workforce development groups, and renewable energy companies launched a campaign in Maryland to advocate for legislative changes that would make solar power more accessible and affordable to all residents. The coalition is supporting Senate Bill 664 (SB0664) and House Bill 1239 (HB1239), sponsored by Maryland Sen. Brian J. Feldman and Delegate Lily Qi, respectively. These bills aim to increase the state’s residential clean energy grant from $1,000 to $5,000, incentivizing rooftop solar installations for Maryland residents. This would create local clean energy jobs, meet the state’s climate goals, and promote equitable access to renewable energy.
Governor Wes Moore is committed to meeting some of the most ambitious clean energy standards in the United States. The Maryland Rooftop Solar Coalition highlights the critical role of rooftop solar in achieving these goals. The proposed legislation would fund rooftop solar grants through fees and penalties paid by companies that do not meet the state’s clean energy requirements. This approach would minimize the cost to taxpayers while ensuring that the fees are directed towards promoting renewable energy.
In addition to enhancing clean energy incentives for low- and moderate-income residents, the proposed legislation aims to provide access to renewable energy for overburdened and underserved communities. Incentivizing the adoption of residential rooftop solar will be crucial to achieving Maryland’s climate goals while preserving the state’s limited natural resources. The recently passed Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 set a statewide goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 60% below 2006 levels by 2032 and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.
Maryland State Sen. Brian Feldman, sponsor of SB0664, stated, “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. 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.”
Maryland Delegate Lily Qi, sponsor of HB1239, added, “Expanding residential solar is an opportunity for Maryland to address the climate crisis while creating jobs and boosting our state’s economic competitiveness. 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.”
Providing equitable access to solar energy will be a key aspect of expanding clean energy usage and cutting emissions. This will require outreach and assistance for low- and moderate-income families who have been disproportionately burdened by legacy polluting fossil fuel infrastructure. The proposed legislation represents an important step towards a more sustainable and equitable energy future for Maryland.