Maryland Is Ready for a Clean Energy Future

Approval of SB516, the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA), which becomes law this week marks a new milestone for Maryland. It positions the state to achieve 50% clean electricity over the next 10 years with solar’s component of the bill from 2.5% to 14.5% of in-state generation by 2030 and opens a path to 100% renewable by 2040.

It’s a big bill with many sectors set to contribute statewide to supply and build renewable generation capacity. Congratulations to the many organizations, voters and legislators that worked to communicate the long-term fiscal and environmental values of the bill. Marylanders statewide have opportunities for growth with this bill.

We are prepared to deliver. Our industry and colleagues have worked hard over the years to innovate and advance energy projects that deliver economic results, private-sector funding and growth. Historically, renewable projects such as solar have been seen as left-of-center politically; however, the economics and market growth of the projects continue to deliver accountable bipartisan results. With Governor Hogan’s decision to allow the bill to become law, Maryland will become the first state with a Republican governor to commit to a 50% renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and a path to 100%— and the 10th state overall to implement 50%.

Maryland Senator Brian Feldman, sponsor of SB516, led the Senate floor debates effectively, illustrating to his colleagues that this bill has merit for the state separately on economic and environmental grounds. Together, those benefits made the bill a “no brainer”. In the House, freshman Delegate Lorig Charkoudian captivated and schooled her 130+ Democrat and Republican colleagues and those listening through the live webcast. These floor debates are worthy of listening to repeatedly in the coming years as the conversations on clean energy continue.

Maryland’s capabilities to achieve the new 50% goals are built on the past 15 years of public-policy success, consumer demand and industry experience. To date, more than 62,000 solar PV systems have been sited, designed, permitted, installed, inspected and safely interconnected with the grid, providing nearly 2% of the annual statewide electricity consumption. In just the next year or two Maryland will accomplish what the original RPS initiated over 15 years ago.

Clean energy is delivering for ratepayers, those with and without solar arrays. Recent reports drawn from the data amassed over the years are illustrating the strength of renewables as part of the electricity supply mix. One study commissioned by Governor Hogan’s Public Service Commission on the Value of Solar reported renewable project investments such as solar return over $4 for every dollar invested. Statewide, this translates to billions of dollars invested in-state. Additionally, a set of New England based studies show the cumulative collective annual in-state generation is meaningful

enough to now position utilities to reduce the purchases and delivery of expensive energy generated in other states at peak summer loads and then credit the savings to all ratepayers.

The economics and environmental benefits of renewable energy and the new bill offer Maryland an opportunity to lead new growth statewide. Our industry, consumers, municipalities, corporate users and utilities are ready to deliver.

Renewable energy is real, accountable, high-tech, local and ready. Marylanders can look forward to modernizing a powerful, affordable, reliable and safe grid today and into the future. At Standard Solar we are fortunate to have choices to operate and fund projects in several states, which we do, but we are proud to call Maryland home and proud to be part of implementing projects throughout Maryland.

 

John Finnerty About the author
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