State-level solar incentives, rebates, tax credits and solar programs for renters are making it easier for Maryland residents to access solar energy.
If you live in Maryland, chances are you are paying more for your electricity compared with the rest of the US. The good news: Maryland is super solar-friendly.
The "Free State" offers many incentives and breaks for a solar panel purchase or other solar initiatives to help offset the rising cost of household energy.
The average monthly consumption in Maryland is above the US average, therefore, higher electric bills, according to CNET's sister publication SaveOnEnergy.
Can solar panels save you money?
Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.
Investing in solar panels could be a great solution to help offset costly energy bills. Federal, state and local incentives, rebates and tax credits are making solar panels most affordable.
When compared with the rest of the US, what's unique about Maryland is the Maryland Energy Administration offers solar grant programs for low income households.
"MEA is thrilled to help all Marylanders benefit from solar energy," Mary Beth Tung, director of the MEA, said in a press release. "Adding these solar energy systems to homes across the state will help lower energy costs to some of the most economically vulnerable Marylanders."
Maryland recently passed a bill becoming the 23rd state to adopt a "shared-access" community solar program. The new framework will replace the former community solar program that had a limiting cap of 580 megawatts.
"We are grateful to Governor (Wes) Moore for signing the Community Solar bill and Chairman (Luke) Clippinger and Senator (Benjamin) Brooks for sponsoring the bill. As Maryland marches towards its goal of achieving 100 percent clean energy by 2035, the community solar program will increase the availability of solar energy, reduce costs for those who most need the cost savings, and create jobs and apprenticeships," executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Kim Coble said in a May 2023 press statement.
Here's what you'll need to know about going solar in Maryland.
Here's a look at the average cash price for a 5-kilowatt system before factoring in tax credits incentives, according to data from FindEnergy.com.
|System size (kW)||Price per watt||Total cost|
While the cost of a solar panel system in Maryland is substantial, there are various solar incentives and credits that make the system more affordable. Keep in mind that most solar incentives only apply if you own your system. Residents who lease their solar panels will not qualify for these incentives.
The residential clean energy credit is a federal solar tax incentive offering 30% of the cost of a solar system in a tax credit to consumers who install solar panels in 2022 and after. Based on 30% of the average cost of solar panels in Maryland, this incentive comes out to $10,612 in the form of a tax credit. Previously known as the investment tax credit, this incentive was increased from 26% to 30% and extended in August 2022 when the Inflation Reduction Act passed.
There is no cap on how much you can claim with the residential clean energy credit, so you can receive 30% of the cost of your system no matter its size or price. You can apply by filling out IRS form 5695 (PDF). The IRS has provided instructions on how to fill out the form and submit the application. After the application is approved, you receive the 30% in credit when you file your tax return.
In addition to the federal solar tax credit, there are also state and local solar incentives in Maryland. The Database of Solar Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency provides a longer list of Maryland solar incentives. Here are a few that stand out.
The Maryland Energy Administration offers this grant program on a first-come-first-serve basis to assist qualified low-income households with the cost of design and installation of solar panels. Read more details on this grant program.
Net metering lets you send excess solar energy generated by your system back to the power grid in exchange for credit on your electricity bills.
Installed solar panels normally https://www.cnet.com/home/energy-and-utilities/do-solar-panels-increase-your-homes-value/increase a home's value, which typically leads to higher property taxes. In Maryland, residents who own solar panels are exempted from paying increased state and local property taxes.
Residents who install a solar panel system smaller than 20kW receive a $1,000 rebate to incentivize them to buy and install solar technology. The window to apply for this program closes on June 30, 2023.
Residents who buy solar panels don't have to pay sales and use tax on their system.
For each megawatt-hour of solar energy your panels produce, you gain one SREC. You can sell these credits to electricity suppliers or utilities in the SREC market. The price per SREC depends on supply and demand, so the value can change from year to year.
Access renewable energy benefits at all income levels without the commitment of buying and owning solar panels with a subscription to a community solar program.
There are nearly 200 solar panel companies operating in Maryland, according to the SEIA. As residential solar continues to grow in popularity, the number of solar installers should increase to meet demand. More choices mean you have plenty of options when choosing a solar installer, but it can also mean sorting through a large number of options.
To help you narrow it all down, we've compiled a list of solar panel company standouts you can consider in Maryland.
Palmetto is one of the country's largest solar installers, offering home solar systems you can buy or lease in Maryland. To maximize your savings long term, you would need to buy your system outright or finance it. If you lease your system or sign a power purchase agreement, you won't own your system, qualify for incentives and your savings will be lower in the long run.
Palmetto was founded in 2010 and installs Q Cells and REC Alpha Pure Black solar panels. It also offers Enphase microinverters and solar battery options. Solar panels from Palmetto have an efficiency rating above 19.8%, a 25-year performance guarantee and a minimum 12-year product warranty. This installer also offers a subscription service called Palmetto Protect, which monitors your solar system's performance and provides tiered levels of support if your system is underperforming or damaged.
Solar Energy World has a smaller service area than some of the other installers on this list, but it has become a leading installer in Maryland and also services Delaware, Florida, North Carolina and a few other states. With this installer, you can buy your solar system upfront, finance it with a solar loan or sign a solar lease or PPA.
Solar Energy World offers products from manufacturers including SolarEdge, Enphase, Q Cells and Tesla. In terms of warranties, Solar Energy World excels with a 30-year manufacturer's warranty on all panels and inverters. If the manufacturer goes out of business during this timeframe, Solar Energy World says it'll honor the warranty. This installer also guarantees a minimum 90% production within the first year. It's important to note that this warranty program only applies to purchased systems, so people who lease their panels won't have the same coverage.
Sunnova is a solar installer operating in 40 states and territories across the US, including Maryland. Through Sunnova, you can buy your solar panels, finance them or sign a solar lease or PPA. This installer offers a service monitoring system, which allows you to track how much energy your system generates.
Sunnova offers solar panels and batteries from well-known brands such as Generac, Tesla and Enphase. You can also purchase home EV chargers and standby generators through Sunnova. The warranty terms from this installer are competitive. The Sunnova Protect warranty covers maintenance, monitoring and repairs for 25 years, and this installer also offers a 10-year roofing warranty.
Serving all 50 states, SunPower Solar stands out in the market because it offers some of the most efficient solar panels available. The SunPower Equinox solar panel has an efficiency rating of up to 22.8%. The SunPower Equinox package includes solar panels from Maxeon, Enphase microinverters and mounting equipment. Maxeon and Enphase products are widely used in the industry and have a history of being high quality.
SunPower provides competitive warranty terms. Unlike most competitors, SunPower guarantees its panels will produce at 92% or more of their original capacity after 25 years. It also offers a battery warranty, which guarantees batteries will retain 70% charge after 10 years, a 12-year roofing warranty and 10-year warranty on its monitoring equipment.
Tesla has become a household name in the solar industry since it broke in the market in 2016. The Tesla solar branch offers traditional solar panels and the Tesla Solar Roof. The specifications, warranty terms and price will depend on which option you choose.
The Tesla Solar Roof is the more expensive option and comes with a 25-year product warranty and a performance warranty at 95% capacity after five years and 85% after 25 years. Tesla's solar panels, however, have a lower price point than the Solar Roof. The panels are warrantied at 85% capacity after 25 years and have an efficiency rating of between 19.3% and 20.6%. Tesla also offers its Powerwall battery, which is one of the most popular solar batteries available.
Choosing to invest in solar panels is a big investment, whether you purchase your system or lease it. It's important to consider whether solar is the right choice for your home. Some questions to ask yourself beforehand include:
On average, solar panels last between 25 and 30 years. Over time, your solar panels' performance will decrease, which is why installers and manufacturers warranty a panel's efficiency and performance for a certain number of years. The lifespan of your solar panels will depend on the quality, climate and maintenance. If they are well-maintained and of good quality, they could last more than 30 years.
Maryland has 1,524 megawatts of solar capacity installed, which is enough to power roughly 173,800 homes. Compared to other states, Maryland ranks 18th for solar generation. SEIA predicts Maryland will add another 1,461MW of solar power over the next five years.
With a growing number of solar installers operating in Maryland, it can be tricky to narrow down your options. If you are searching for a Maryland solar installation company, we recommend getting quotes from multiple installers, reading customer testimonials and reviewing the warranty information for every product. You can use CNET's picks for top solar companies as a starting point.