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Maryland Women in Energy – A Rising Solar Energy Star Expanding Clean Energy in Maryland

Governor Larry Hogan shakes hands with Abbi Peryea at a summer conference. Also pictured, Maryland Energy Administration staff Garry Aime and Landon Fahrig.

Governor Larry Hogan proclaimed 2020 As ‘Year Of The Woman’ in Maryland and the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) has been highlighting Maryland women in energy. 

Abigail (Abbi) Antonini (Peryea)​ is an Energy Program Manager at MEA focusing on our clean energy programs. She is a graduate of State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences & Forestry majoring is Sustainable Energy Management​. Abbi began her career at MEA as a grants administrator overseeing Residential Clean Energy rebates submitted by Marylanders who made the choice to install renewable, energy-efficient systems in their home. She is the past recipient of the Employee of the Month Award and earlier this year, Abbi was promoted to program manager and is assisting with several high level solar research projects. 

Abbi is a research powerhouse, she has completed her GIS training and works to help vet data for MEA reports. She even began supporting the MEA policy team for the 2020 legislative session, working on the Renewable Energy Development and Siting (REDS) Task Force. She is also a regular contributor of energy articles helping to explain aspects of energy like Solar Renewable Energy Certificates , reporting on Maryland’s energy storage adoption, and how businesses can marry renewable energy systems with energy storage to improve their resiliency. 

Abbi participated in the International Women’s Day on March 8, 2020 striking the #EachforEqual pose to motivate others to make a positive difference for women everywhere #MDYrofWoman #MarylandYOW

We asked Abbi a few questions about her work and this is what she had to say:

What is the most inspiring part of your job? The most inspiring part of my job is that I feel like I can make a difference. Working at the state level I feel like I have a role to help people understand what opportunities they may have whether that is for residents or for commercial business owners. The solar industry is always advancing and there is always something new to learn about. That is one of the reasons I decided to go into the sustainable energy field of work.

Share a new energy fact you have learned while working at MEA? There are over 2 million solar systems installed in the U.S. alone as of 2019, which in 2016 we had just reached 1 million.

What current advances in solar energy (or energy or renewable energy) do you find the most exciting? What I am most excited about is floating solar. I am curious as to how this could be incorporated into Maryland’s siting of renewable energy. 

This 4,959 panel floating solar system will generate power for a wastewater treatment plant in Windsor, CA. The array is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 350 metric tons of CO2 per year and save approximately $5 million dollars in energy costs over the next 25 years photo credit: The Windsor Times

Where do you see solar energy in Maryland headed over the next 10 years? I would get excited to see solar panels on someone’s house 10 years ago, now it is more common. I think solar energy will continue to grow in the residential sector because the direct benefit it has to offer the homeowners. We are also starting to see solar shingles being installed. 

What should the public know about MEA? There are many incentives that our office has to offer for both residential and commercial people of Maryland and some of these incentives can be combined. For example this past year we had Dogs Day Farm apply for a Commercial Clean Energy Rebate for their installation of their solar PV system, and then they paired it with an energy storage system to be more resilient. They were the first Maryland business to apply and receive a Clean Energy Rebate and an Energy Storage Tax Credit