Solar Panels in Maryland: What Laws Apply?
Whichever side you fall on, knowing major laws and regulations can come in handy when improving a home with solar power.
Maryland Guide to Solar Power
The exact laws and regulations vary depending on where you live. All of the following apply in Maryland. If you’re not from Maryland, that’s not a problem- some of these are mirrored in other states.
Licensing and Permits
Only licensed electricians are allowed to install solar panels, and many municipalities require a permit before adding them to a property. Installing solar power as a DIY project is not recommended.
Groups like Home Owners Associations cannot prevent the installation of solar panels or prevent them from being installed in the most efficient location. An HOA also cannot force a homeowner to use a specific material if it increases the cost.
Some properties do not have these protection, such as properties in historic districts.
Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs)
SRECs are used in sixteen states plus Washington, D.C. as part of a Renewable Portfolio Standard. Your solar panel will earn SRECs as it generates energy, which can then be sold to energy companies who need to meet their quotas for different types of energy.
The exact value changes throughout the year and between states because it depends on how much of their quotas the companies have filled.
State Tax Incentives and Grants
Maryland offers several programs designed to increase the use of solar power.
There is no sales tax when buying solar panels and other solar power materials or when selling the SRECs earned. Maryland provides grant money to help pay for installing solar power.
Homeowners can also claim a state income tax credit based on how much power their panels produce, although the panels must generate at least 23,530 kWh a year (the amount necessary for a $1,000 tax credit).
Community Solar Farms
While most of the benefits apply to homeowners, it is possible for renters and homeowners that cannot install panels to join the fun. Recent legislation created community solar projects so interested citizens can invest in the projects and reduce their electricity bills.
Solar power is a great way to save money, but laws can and do change. However, this list should be a good starting point when researching solar options. Be sure to research local building codes, zoning, and certified electricians thoroughly before building.
If you are looking into getting solar panels in your Maryland household, you can get a free quote here.