You don’t have to be a “solar farm” to profit from renewable energy. Are you in retail, commercial realty, or manufacturing? You’ve got ample room for solar panels and stand to grow your business considerably from collecting solar power. In fact, any professional service provider operating out of a building they own is wise to go solar. Name any industry, and there are businesses with thriving solar energy projects already setting a great example.
Washington D.C. and surrounding markets lead the nation in renewable energy incentives. The district has helped businesses and residents install new solar panels and has one of the most generous net metering policies in the US. Solar energy makes big headlines in the capital because they are committed to progress. Last year Mayor Muriel E. Bowser signed a law requiring D.C. to use at least 5% solar energy by 2032. In order to make state renewable energy solar goals feasible, legislators pass bills for financial incentives.
Much business development and environmental policymaking is left up to individual states. Producing solar energy makes sense for businesses thanks to clean energy incentive programs. The Maryland Energy Administration is setting an example by offering over 90 clean energy initiatives, including several solar programs.
Making solar energy an attractive investment is a matter of addressing the initial cost, and the good news is the price of panels and inverters has come down. The median price of components for a solar energy grid has dropped 60% in the last ten years .
State Sponsored Programs
Maryland solar incentives were put in place to get the state running on at least 2% solar energy by 2020, and regulatory policies were enacted in support of property owners who want to take advantage. Now, guidelines exist for different businesses to work together and share a solar grid. Local municipalities like Montgomery County, MD have cut the red tape and expedited the inspection process.
General business programs:
Commercial Clean Energy Grant Program – Awards for new installations range from $30-60 per kilowatt.
Solar Canopy Grant Program – Grants up to $150,000 awarded for installing a solar parking lot canopy that serves as an electronic vehicle charging station.
Commercial and Industrial Grant Program – Competitive awards for retrofits that reduce consumption
Kathleen A. P. Mathias Agriculture Energy Efficiency Program – An annual competitive grant program which awards farms up to 25% of the cost of renewable energy projects, in addition to other incentives.
Jane E. Lawton Conservation Loan Program – An affordable loan program offered to not for profits, with specific amounts earmarked for hospitals, local government, and schools.
Solar Renewable Energy Certificates
The SREC program is a separate incentive program that focuses on what your system produces rather than system cost. Solar grid owners help their home states reach mandated clean energy goals. The utility grid meters all of the electricity your system produces, and you receive credits as reward for your contribution, even if your business consumes the power. Sell your certificates via specialized markets or arrange private sales. The amount paid per kilowatt varies by locality.
Washington D.C. has the highest valued SREC program in the US. Currently, the area is underserved, meaning solar energy is lacking. This has driven certificate prices to their highest in the nation.
State-sponsored programs like Maryland solar incentives are in addition to the federal credit. New solar producers qualify for these incentives along with the federal Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC). If you depreciate your assets, you are also eligible under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) to offset installation costs by claiming the deductions on your state and federal tax returns.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of Maryland solar incentives. Most properties have at least one site appropriate for a grid. Some owner operators have both rooftop and lot space that could potentially be generating income. Once you start using solar energy, you’ll want to leverage more of the sun-exposed property and you’ll wonder why you waited. Think big now while incentives are at their peak. It can pay to do your part!