Maryland Bill Would Increase Residential Solar Rebate from $1000 to $5000

If you're looking for a state with a nice package of solar incentives, Maryland is already tough to beat.

Besides awarding Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) to solar-equipped homes and businesses, Maryland is one of only twenty-six states to exempt going solar from all property and usage taxes.

Maryland also makes sure that the added value solar power brings to your home doesn't come back and bite you by exempting residents from any resulting increase in property taxes.

To top it all off, homeowners in Maryland who transition to clean and renewable solar energy can also get $1000 in cash from the state. To be eligible, your system has to be between 1 kW and 20 kW (which virtually all residential installations are) and be installed at your primary residence by a firm with the standard NABCEP certification.

But a new bill proposed in the Maryland legislature would significantly up the state's solar-incentive ante and, in the process, make Maryland one of the best states in the country for rooftop solar.

Senate Bill 66/House Bill 1239

Sponsored by state Senator Brian J. Feldman and Delegate Lily Qi, the bill would boost Maryland's already generous $1,000 cash rebate all the way up to $5,000.

Expanding residential solar is an opportunity for Maryland to address the climate crisis while creating jobs and boosting our state’s economic competitiveness,” said sponsor Lily Qi. “This bill moves us toward Maryland’s ambitious climate goals in a way that is inclusive of households of all income levels and makes clean energy accessible to the communities who have disproportionately been affected by rising energy costs.”

Qi's cosponsor,  Brian Feldman, said their goal is "to reboot Maryland’s rooftop solar industry and create thousands of jobs in the process, while providing incentives that make solar power more accessible to lower-income households.”

Should Qi and Feldman's bill become law, many Maryland homeowners will be able to install a solar system that will provide them with 25-to-30 years of totally free electricity for next to nothing.

The average solar system costs around $19,000 to install. So that $5,000 cash would already lower the cost down to $14,000.

But the federal government has also incentivized solar with its Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which allows homeowners to deduct 30% of the total cost of installing a solar system from their income tax bill.

What's more, the U.S. Department of Energy website makes it very clear that "state tax credits for installing solar PV generally do not reduce federal tax credits."

That means that you won't have to deduct that $5,000 cash rebate from the overall cost of your system when you calculate your 30% tax credit.

In other words,  a homeowner who installs an average-priced $19,000 solar system would get 30% of the full $19,000 cost back as a tax credit regardless of any state-level rebates effectively bringing the cost down.

That amounts to a $5,700 discount, bringing the average $19,000 cost of going solar down to $13,300. Which means that, should Qi and Feldman's bill pass, the average cost of going solar in Maryland will drop by more than half to only around $8,000.

That amounts to around $25 a month for 25 to 30 years of free electricity.

And that's before considering the additional return on investment provided by Maryland's SREC program.

Many Maryland homeowners were already able to substantially reduce their energy expenses by going solar with just the state's current $1,000 rebate in play.

But should Qi and Feldman successfully shepherd their bill, the number of Maryland residents able to save money with solar power is likely to explode.

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FAQ: When Will My SRECs Start Accruing?
The short answer is you can probably expect a two-month delay between when your solar system goes online and when you start earning SRECs.