Solar Energy Questions and Answers for Maryland Residents
Information about “Free” solar for Maryland homeowners is everywhere. Here are answers from the Maryland Energy Administration.
Question: I’ve seen advertisements offering free solar for my home. Is it really possible to get free solar in Maryland?
Answer: Some solar companies try to entice customers by claiming to provide “free” solar. These claims might be disguised as “articles” delivering “news.” BEWARE—You cannot get solar for free. Although you might be able to get a solar energy system with no or minimal up front cost if you sign a lease or a power purchase agreement (PPA), you will still have to have to make regular payments for the duration of your lease or PPA.
Question: The State of Maryland has a program that pays to install solar energy systems for homeowners and businesses. Is this true?
Answer: No, the State of Maryland does not have a program that pays the complete costs to install solar energy systems for Maryland homeowners and businesses.
Maryland’s Residential Clean Energy Grant Program does offer a limited grant (currently $1,000) to eligible Maryland residents who install a qualifying solar PV system. Similarly, Maryland’s Commercial Clean Energy Grant Program offers a grant to eligible Maryland businesses, nonprofits, and local and State government agencies that install a qualifying solar PV system. The Commercial Clean Energy Grant amount is calculated at a specified rate per kW of installed system capacity (current rate can be found on the commercial Program webpage)
Bottom Line: The Maryland Energy Administration offers limited reimbursable grants for Maryland home owners and businesses that upgrade to clean, renewable solar energy systems. For more information, visit us at www.Energy.Maryland.gov
What is a solar lease? If you lease, the solar company owns and installs the solar energy system, and you sign a contract to use the system. You will have to pay a monthly leasing fee for the duration of the lease. You use the electricity generated by your system, but you also pay your utility for any electricity you use in excess of whatever your system provides.
What is a power purchase agreement? A PPA is similar to a lease. If you have a PPA, a solar project developer owns the solar energy system and installs it on your home. You pay the developer for the energy generated by the solar system, and you pay the utility for any electricity you use in excess of whatever your system provides.
Warning: If you lease or have a PPA, your payments could increase over time. Read the agreement carefully and make sure you understand your options.
Bottom Line: You might be able to install a solar energy system on your house with a low or no initial down payment, but the solar system will not actually be “free.” Please be aware: certain state and federal financial incentives are available only if you purchase your solar energy system. Learn more about your options for financing a solar energy system before you decide.
Solar Leases & PPAs
Maryland consumers having a complaint concerning a solar installer in Maryland should file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division Online complains may be filed here
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