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Maryland passes Brighter Tomorrow Act to incentivize local solar development



The Maryland General Assembly recently approved Senate Bill 783, known as the Brighter Tomorrow Act, aimed at boosting local solar development and simplifying the permitting process. The bill seeks to reduce costs associated with solar projects and enhance their value for energy consumers statewide. With Maryland striving for a clean economy and aiming to strengthen its electric grid, this legislation becomes crucial.

 

Maryland's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) already mandates a significant portion of energy from solar sources by 2030, but the state has lagged in meeting interim targets. The Brighter Tomorrow Act addresses this by:

 

Increasing the compliance value for energy from specific new solar projects, making it easier for electric suppliers to meet solar targets under the RPS.

Introducing a residential solar grant program administered by the Maryland Energy Administration, offering up to $7500 to low-and-moderate-income households adopting solar.

Promoting the adoption of automated digital solar permitting software by local governments, aiming to enhance efficiency, lower installation costs, and facilitate wider solar adoption.

Supporters like Robin Dutta from the Chesapeake Solar and Storage Association (CHESSA) emphasize the importance of such legislation in realizing clean energy goals and expanding Maryland's solar workforce. Senator Sarah Elfreth, the primary sponsor of SB783, underscores the collaborative effort behind the Brighter Tomorrow Act, citing the work of the Solar Task Force.

 

Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo, who sponsored the House cross-file of the bill, highlights its origins in the Solar Task Force and its evolution during the legislative process to encompass multiple measures for solar development. Notably, the inclusion of the SolarAPP+ tool aims to streamline residential solar permitting.

 

Overall, the Brighter Tomorrow Act signifies Maryland's dedication to clean energy and establishes innovative pathways for solar development, supported by collaborative efforts and informed by expert recommendations.

 

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