Solar Panels in Maryland: Costs, Incentives and Top Installers

State solar incentives, including tax credits and programs for renters, make it easier for Marylanders to go solar.

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Maryland is a particularly solar-friendly state, with incentives and programs designed to help residents go solar.

Benjamin C. Tankersley/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

If you live in Maryland, you likely pay more for your electricity than the average American. The good news: Maryland is super solar-friendly. The Old Line State offers many incentives and breaks for a solar panel purchase, along with other solar initiatives to help offset the rising cost of household energy. 

The average monthly electricity consumption in Maryland is above the US average, resulting in an average monthly electric bill of about $154.90, according to CNET's sister publication SaveOnEnergy. 

Installing solar could be a solution to help relieve costly home energy bills. Federal, state and local incentives are making solar panels most affordable. 


Can solar panels save you money?

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The Maryland Energy Administration offers grants to low-income households to help them go solar. "Adding these solar energy systems to homes across the state will help lower energy costs to some of the most economically vulnerable Marylanders," Mary Beth Tung, director of the MEA, said in a press release

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. 


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.


"As Maryland marches towards its goal of achieving 100% 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," Kim Coble, executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, said in a May 2023 press statement.  

Here's what you'll need to know about going solar in Maryland. 

Average cost of solar panels in Maryland 

Here's a look at the average cash price for a 5-kilowatt system before factoring in tax credits and incentives, according to data from FindEnergy.com.

Maryland solar panel costs

System size (kW)Price per wattTotal cost
5 $3.54$17,700

Solar incentives and rebates in Maryland

While the cost of a solar panel system is high, there are various solar incentives and credits that can help 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. 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.

Maryland solar incentives

Program Description
Low Income Solar Grant Program 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 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.
Property tax exemption Installed solar panels normally 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.
Residential Clean Energy Rebate Program Residents who install a solar panel system smaller than 20 kW receive a $1,000 rebate. The window to apply for this program closes on June 30, 2023.
Sales tax exemption Residents who buy solar panels don't have to pay sales and use tax on their system.
Solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs) 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.
Community Solar Pilot Program 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.

Best Maryland solar panel companies 

There are nearly 200 solar panel companies operating in Maryland, according to 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 to consider.

How we chose the best solar companies

Solar panels are difficult to put through hands-on testing, so our reviews are based on research on each company's offerings, focused on what we can measure. CNET's list of the best solar companies was selected based on the equipment the companies offered, their stated warranties and apparent commitments to customer service. Here's a detailed look at our selection methodology

Read more: Want something smaller than a whole-home solar system? See our picks for the best portable solar panels and solar generators.

Installation factors to consider

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:

  • Is my roof right for solar? The size, shape and slope of your roof will have an impact on your solar system's efficiency. According to the Department of Energy, solar panels will produce more electricity when installed on a roof with a slope between 15 and 40 degrees. You should also consider the age and condition of your roof before installing solar panels. If your roof is older or in need of repairs, it will need to be maintained or replaced before installation.
  • Will my insurance cover solar panels? Most standard homeowner's policies cover rooftop solar panels, but you should contact your homeowner's insurance company to check the details of your policy. After installing solar panels, contact your agency to add the panels to your policy.
  • Does my neighborhood allow solar panels? Maryland has a solar rights law, meaning homeowner's associations and neighborhoods cannot ban solar panels installations. There may be requirements or regulations in place, however, regarding the visibility, aesthetics or wiring of a solar panel system. Be sure to research the requirements in your area before installing solar panels.
  • Is my location right for solar? Maryland normally has about 202 sunny days per year, just under the US average of 205. Maryland receives more rainfall every year compared to the rest of the country, too. While solar panels can still generate electricity in indirect sunlight, they're much more efficient when they get at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day. Homes in Maryland that receive a lot of rain may not be able to produce as much solar power as a home in Florida, where sunshine is abundant. You should also consider your home's shade coverage when thinking about solar. 
  • What if I rent my home? If you rent your home or live in an apartment, you may not be allowed to install solar panels. Check with your rental management company or landlord to confirm if solar is allowed. If not, community solar may be a good alternative. Maryland offers a community solar pilot program, which allows residents who rent their home to benefit from solar power. With community solar, you pay a monthly fee to subscribe to solar energy produced at another location and receive a credit on your energy bills. The subscription fee is set at a lower rate than the value of the credits, meaning you typically come out ahead financially. Maryland's community solar program is geared towards helping low and moderate income residents benefit from solar energy savings, opening up solar to a wider range of households.
  • Do you plan to move? If you anticipate moving to a new home in the future, consider whether it makes financial sense to invest in solar panels in your current home. If you move to a new home, you'll likely need to leave your solar panels behind because it can be very difficult and expensive to remove and reinstall them. Solar panels can increase your home's value by up to $15,000, according to the Department of Energy, so your investment can pay off if you plan to sell. If you move to a new home before recouping your investment, however, the increased home value might not be enough to cover the upfront cost.

FAQs

Updated on July 7, 2023

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Written by  Caitlin Ritchie Katie Collins
CNET staff -- not advertisers, partners or business interests -- determine how we review the products and services we cover. If you buy through our links, we may get paid. Reviews ethics statement
caitlin
Caitlin Ritchie
Caitlin Ritchie is a CNET contributor and a writer for our sister publication SaveOnEnergy.com and has been covering home energy, residential solar power and energy efficiency since 2019. In her writing, Caitlin aims to demystify the energy industry and help readers find clear and straightforward answers and advice. Caitlin earned her master's degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her B.A. from the University of Georgia, both in English. Snopes, The Washington Post and The American Solar Energy Society have cited her writing and research.
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Katie Collins Senior Editor
Katie Collins is a senior editor for CNET covering home energy and solar power. Katie previously covered personal finance as a senior editor on NextAdvisor with a focus on mortgages and the housing market. She has also been an editor for The Simple Dollar, Reviews.com, Interest.com and CreditCards.com. Katie holds a bachelor's degree deviant behavior and social control from CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice and spent a decade working with at-risk teenagers and facilitating family crisis intervention and anger management groups. Katie took her counseling skills and passion for helping people into service journalism. Her goal is to help people make important decisions and reach their personal life goals. Katie's free time is spent with her two human children and two fur children.
Expertise Energy, Solar Power, Deregulated Energy, Personal Finance, Mortgages, Home Equity, Loans
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