Community solar in Maryland continues to move forward and is on its way to becoming a reality | Groundswell | David Wright
On April 10, 2017, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) began accepting applications from operators of community solar systems to participate in the first year of the state’s community solar pilot program. Since then, the Maryland PSC has reviewed each application and issued “subscriber organization ID” numbers (essentially a license to operate) to each successful applicant. This certification enables organizations like Groundswell to apply to administer specific projects.
Investor-owned utilities in Maryland (e.g., Pepco, BGE, Potomac Edison) then began accepting applications for interconnection, which is the technical process of connecting a solar project to the local electricity grid. Once an applicant’s interconnection agreement has been reviewed and partially executed by the utility, the subscriber organization can apply to operate a specific community solar project. Each utility company has designated a cap, or limit, on the amount of community solar capacity it will accept for the first year of the statewide pilot program. Utilities will accept completed project applications on a first-come, first-served basis until each utility’s program capacity has been met.
During the first year of the state’s three-year pilot program, 23 megawatts (MW) of a total allowable 77 megawatts—roughly 30 percent—are reserved for projects with a significant portion of low and moderate income customers.