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Maryland Trying to Become Leader in Solar


There are several states that are trying to wrest the solar mantle from California, which has been the major hotbed of solar activity. Although not known for their sunshine, several states in the mid-Atlantic region have adopted progressive agendas to motivate growth in the solar industry--and there are enough solar rays to go around. Maryland is the latest state to strengthen its solar agenda.

Governor Martin O'Malley released his 2010 energy agenda earlier this week.  O'Malley's Administration introduced legislation that will accelerate the solar renewable portfolio standard. According to the press release

This legislation will accelerate Maryland's solar RPS requirements in the early years (2011 - 2017), resulting in more residential and commercial solar installation and greater job creation.

It will make the phase-in of the Solar RPS more evenly distributed over the next decade and provide more long-term support for Maryland‘s growing solar industry. This change will put the State's solar goals more in line with New Jersey and Delaware.

Additional solar energy in Maryland will decrease peak load electricity prices in the summertime, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by displacing fossil-fueled powered generation, create new green jobs, and help Maryland meet its renewable energy goals.

Also part of O'Malley's agenda is the creation of green jobs, and a grant of $5.8 million awarded to the Maryland Energy Sector Partnership should have made the Governor happy. One of the recipients will be Go Solar! Regional Partnership, which is a collaboration of Goodwill Industries, Job Corps, correctional facilities and businesses that train workers in renewable energy jobs, according to the Baltimore Business Journal.

This announcement came on the heels of the opening of the largest rooftop solar installation in Maryland. The 202,000-square-foot roof is almost covered by 5,600 solar panels. The 1.01 MW array is expected to generate 1.2 million kW every year.  According to the Maryland Gazette,

The roof-mount photovoltaic system went online Dec. 29. It was paid for via a power purchase agreement. Under the agreement, SunEdison financed, built and will maintain the solar energy system. There were no upfront capital costs to Staples and it will purchase the solar electricity.

Over 43 million pounds of carbon dioxide will be offset over the initial 20 years of the project. That is the equivalent of over 4,231 cars off the road. The system will produce enough energy over 20 years that could power 2,063 average U.S. homes for one year.

With this reenergized solar agenda, Maryland can make some bold moves to become a leader in solar energy.

Tags: solar renewable energy credits, power purchase agreements, solar leasing, Maryland renewable energy standard