Howard County solar supporters’ win good for all Marylanders

By Ben Delman on November 8, 2019

Solar energy supporters scored a big win this week in Howard County. The county council decisively voted against a ban on the construction of community solar projects. This victory is bigger than just one county. It is great news for all Marylanders who want to benefit from solar energy.

Community solar allows people or organizations to own or lease a share of a solar array. They count the electricity generated by their share against their monthly electric bill. This allows them to lower their bills just as if the system were on their own roof.

Maryland is in the middle of a pilot program for community solar. One of the issues the pilot is testing is where and how to locate these projects. We want to make sure that community solar projects are built in a way that respects the places where they are located.

Howard County took the drastic step of proposing a one-year ban on construction of these projects. They would use this time to develop zoning rules for larger scale solar projects. Thanks to local solar supporters who mobilized to stop the bill. They contact council members and testified at last month’s council meeting. Council members voted against the bill by 4-1 margin.

Instead of the ban, the council decided to create a solar taskforce. Solar United Neighbors is taking an active role in this group. It will enable solar supporters to work with other stakeholders, like the agricultural community. Together we’ll develop recommendations that will continue solar’s growth in a responsible way.

Howard County has set a model for other Maryland counties to follow. Please consider supporting our work so that we can ensure all Marylanders can benefit from solar energy.