Community solar opens the benefits of solar to anyone who receives an electric bill, including lower-income residents, businesses, municipalities, schools and non-profits. In addition, its cost competitiveness and ability to expand into new markets is driving investments in Maryland communities at a time when they are greatly needed.
Courtesy of NREL
Community solar is distinctive for its simplicity and flexibility – it allows utility customers who are unable to access the benefits of onsite solar otherwise the option to purchase renewable energy from a local community solar project.
“Allegany County is proud to have an innovative energy project that brings investment as well as long term tax revenue to the local economy for years to come,” said Jake Shade, President of the Allegany County Board of Commissioners.
The two projects, a combined 5.5 MW, are expected to provide savings and clean power to approximately 800 Maryland households as subscribers.
“Community solar is an effective way to provide large numbers of subscribers access to the benefits of clean energy,” said John Finnerty, Director of Business Development, Standard Solar. “Community solar projects engage a community, starting with ratepayers interested in savings and clean energy, a land owner to provide or host the site, a servicing utility to approve the grid interconnection, efficient state regulators providing consumer protections and grants and a team of solar project engineers and system operators. Collectively, the community wins and ratepayers save. We’re particularly excited to own and operate these projects in our home state of Maryland where we’ve funded more than 35 MW of clean energy in the state.”
“These projects will bring direct financial benefits to hundreds of residents of western Maryland while also cleaning our air and helping fight climate change,” noted Gary Skulnik, CEO of Neighborhood Sun. “Together with Standard Solar and the others involved in the projects, we’re proud to be helping improve life in our home state.”
Standard Solar financed and will own and operate the community solar farms. The Flintstone Community Solar project, located in Allegany County, Maryland, and the Shepherd’s Mill Community Solar project in Carroll County, Maryland, are both under construction and are actively being subscribed.
The projects received grant funding from the Maryland Energy Administration’s (MEA) FY20 Community Solar LMI PPA Incentive Grant Program (LMI-PPA Program) designed to help extend the benefits of community solar projects to members of the Low and Moderate Income (LMI) community. LMI subscribers are guaranteed additional discounts on the community solar portion of their electric bill. All other residential customers are guaranteed to save 10% annually by switching to community solar power.