Municipalities are stepping up to help meet the state’s goals for renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our dependency on gas and coal. With the state of Maryland’s renewable generation goal of 20% by 2022, Maryland offers great opportunity for municipalities to develop solar projects that provide clean and renewable electricity to local towns.

Local town and counties are now turning to solar to positively affect their fiscal budgets and reduce the town’s overall energy usage. With the industry’s rapid growth already at 723MW nationwide for the first quarter of 2013, the opportunities for towns to increase their green footprint through solar are becoming more readily available and affordable. With Maryland’s Net Aggregated metered laws– several town/county buildings and facilities can benefit from the power generated through a solar system. For example Standard Solar’s (SSI) Fairlee Lagoons solar installation in Kent County powers 16 of the town’s wastewater pumping stations. In fact– up to 20 facilities can be tied to the same installation.

More municipalities are financing their solar installations through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Some benefits of a PPA for municipalities include no upfront cost, access to tax credits and the stabilized energy bills for 20-25 years. The PPA provider manages the development and maintenance of the system. Municipalities can also benefit from federal and state tax incentives.

Another great benefit of solar is that it contributes to the municipality’s overall green initiative; the systems promote the town’s environmental stewardship and provide clean energy that is beneficial to all citizens. Solar projects also offer educational opportunities to teach children and adults the benefits of renewable energy and sustainability. Schools can integrate the benefits of solar energy into their school curriculum. SSI’s Worton project, the first of four installations developed in Kent County, implemented the SSI SMART program which educates students with solar tours and solar related lesson plans.

There are a variety of positive reasons for municipalities to purse solar. Going solar is a great way for a community to promote green awareness. It is financially beneficial and leaves a great legacy for improvement to the environment. For more information on all of our projects stop by our booth #430 at the 2013 Maryland Municipal League Convention, June 23-26th in Ocean City, Maryland. We look forward to seeing you there!