Last month, the Maryland legislature proposed two new sets of legislation that will impact the solar industry in the state.
First, House Bill 1187 (HB1187) proposes that the Maryland Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) would bump up the state’s commitment to solar energy: instead of requiring a 2% solar energy contribution to the regional energy supply by 2022, the deadline would move up two years to 2020.
The interim percentage requirements would also be increased starting next year. For example, under the current legislation, the solar energy percentage requirement in 2016 was only 0.50%; under the new law, that would increase to 0.70%.
It’s important to note that the overall solar contribution to the state’s RPS would not change under this legislation.
But the amount of SRECs that would be required in the state over the next eight years would increase significantly. This could correlate to better SREC prices in the marketplace, although some large solar projects that will come online in the near future may have a substantial impact on Maryland’s SREC marketplace.
The House version of this bill was heard by the House Economic Matters committee at the end of March and was passed unanimously out of committee. It will go to a vote on the House floor and, if passed, then move to the Senate Finance Committee for further review. Only after these hurtles can the bill go on to its final step: being signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley.
There are two new bills in the Maryland House and Senate that would create new guidelines and regulations in regards to investing, operating and participating in “community solar” arrangements.
These bills would outline who could qualify as a project owner as well as outlining how excess energy not used by the system’s participants would be credited or sold as wholesale electricity.