Solar Power Rebates, Tax Credits and Solar Panel Incentives in Maryland; 2012 Update
There have been several changes recently to solar power rebates, tax credits and other incentives that effect residents of Maryland.
Maryland's RPS or Renewable Portfolio Standard
Maryland was relatively quick in getting their RPS implemented. It has been revised a couple of times since 2006 and is now a very good RPS. Maryland has a tiered RPS, tier 1 and tier 2, electricity suppliers are required to provide 1% of retail electricity sales in the state from Tier 1* renewables and 2.5% from Tier 2** renewables. This tier system can seem a little complicated but the important thing to know here is that PV solar power installation are tier 1. The other good thing about Maryland's RPS is that they have included in the RPS a specific 2% solar power carve out, this gives more certainty to those who are looking at solar power.
Federal Tax Credit
The single most significant financial incentive for your solar power system in Maryland is the same Federal Tax Credit that applies right across the USA. This gives you a credit on your Federal Tax bill equivalent to 30% of the cost of your solar system For more information on this visit out page "The 30% federal tax credit for residential solar power systems" Because this is a tax credit you get the benefit of this when you do your next federal tax return, rather than getting a cheque on the day of installation. Still, it has a real value if you are in a position where you are paying annual federal income tax equivalent to 30% or more of the value of your solar panel system.
Maryland State Rebates
Maryland has a State based rebate in place. It has recently been altered and as of now (May 2012) it stands as a flat $1,000 rebate paid to eligible residential customers. It is subject to funding restraints but the funding has recently been extended to 8.5 million. In Maryland they do operate a SREC's (State Renewable Energy Certificate) market, residential customers can have a system up to 10kW to qualify for the program. Solar generators must apply for certification as a qualifying generator from the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC). Solar generators in Maryland are required to offer SRECs for sale to Maryland electricity suppliers prior to offering them for sale to any other buyer. The PSC operates a web site where generators can post SREC offers. Currently, SREC purchase contracts directly between a solar generator and an energy supplier must have a term of at least 15 years. On October 1, 2012 the minimum term requirements will not apply to Level 1 facilities. For Level 1 solar facilities only, the purchase must take the form of a single, up-front payment arrived at by calculating the net present value of SRECs over the life of the contract using a standard SREC value of 80% of the SACP and federal secondary credit interest rate in effect as of January 1 of that year as the discount rate. If after 10 days the SREC(s) have not been sold to a Maryland electricity supplier, the facility owner is free to sell their SREC(s) to any buyer. If you have any questions about this, click "here" and we can have local solar experts contact you.
Net Metering means that your electricity provider will monitor how much power you consume from the grid and how much power you generate and send back to the grid. This can be achieved by the installation of a bio-directional meter that separately records what you buy from the grid and what you push back into the grid. Solar installs are limited to 200% of the customer's annual electricity consumption Utilities must install a meter at a customer's facility capable of measuring the flow of electricity in both direction (if necessary), and must offer net metering through a tariff or contract at non-discriminatory rates compared to those offered to customers that do not net meter. Customers with systems that meet all applicable safety and performance standards established by the National Electrical Code (NEC), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and any other PSC requirements may not be required by utilities to install additional controls, to perform or pay for additional tests, or to purchase additional liability insurance. The real value of net metering is that the value you get for the power that you feed back into the grid will increase in time as the retail price of power increases.
Maryland State Tax Exemptions and State Tax Credits
Maryland enacted legislation exempting geothermal and solar energy equipment from the state sales and use tax. Yep that's right your solar system will be 100% exempt from the state sales and use tax. Property tax incentives are also available on a county by county basis, the best way to find out what is available to you is to talk to local solar experts, click "here" and we can make this happen.
Maryland Solar Incentives and investment case: Summary May 2012
Maryland is obviously serious about incentives to help meet its solar targets. It has an excellent overall package of rebates and incentives. The RPS is designed to run up to 1,500 mW of renewable energy, so get in quick while the incentives are there. It's our opinion that a solar power system for your home in Maryland is a financial no brainer. Remember, Warren Buffet's compound annual return on investment over 50 years is only around 20% and with a solar power system you are likely to exceed this within only 5-6 years. From then on the percentage return you get each year just goes up and up as power prices go up and up over the next 30 years