Maryland House, Senate hold Clean Energy Jobs Act hearings

By Zach Schalk on March 8, 2018

Earlier this week, committees in the Maryland House and Senate held hearings to discuss the Clean Energy Jobs Act (SB 7321 / HB 1453). Solar United Neighbors of Maryland Program Director Lauren Barchi attended both days of hearings and submitted written testimony. In a show of our broad support, 42 solar homeowners and other supporters from across Maryland signed on in support of our testimony.

While the bill is still working its way through the process, we’re feeling confident about our chances of seeing the Clean Energy Jobs Act succeed this year—raising the total amount of renewable energy used across the state to 50% by 2032 and drastically expanding Maryland solar production in the process. For more information on how the Clean Energy Jobs Act will boost the solar market in Maryland and benefit both current and future solar homeowners, see our recent post on the subject.

Our submitted testimony supporting the Clean Energy Jobs Bill.

Maryland General Assembly
100 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401
March 2, 2018

Position: SUPPORT SB732/ HB1453

Re: Clean Energy Jobs/ Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard

Chairman, Vice Chair, and Members of the Committee:

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to submit testimony. I am the Program Director for Solar United Neighbors of Maryland, a project of the nationwide non-profit Solar United Neighbors. Solar United Neighbors of Maryland is a network of people taking control of their energy by installing solar and generating their own electricity. We help network members do this by supporting solar purchasing co-ops. Co-op members work together to pick an installer and go solar. This process helps group members that go solar secure highly competitive pricing and support throughout the process. Our 3,000-strong network of solar homeowners and supporters represents folks from all over the state: Worcester County to Garrett County, and just about everywhere in between.

Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) has been a successful policy mechanism for encouraging these homeowners to go solar, creating good solar jobs and sparking economic investment throughout the state. Since we started, we have helped co-op members and their selected installers deploy 3.6 MW of solar capacity which will offset the carbon input by almost 100 million pounds over the lifetime of the systems, with homeowners investing more than $8 million dollars in the state’s clean energy economy.

The Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) market that flows from the RPS is a key component in the decision making process of potential solar owners. Homeowners have demonstrated they are willing to invest in Maryland’s clean energy economy when the market is stable, predictable, and strong. This builds the solar installation value chain, creating local jobs and economic growth. A strong RPS is not only well-aligned with the state’s clean energy goals, it leverages private capital to expand the state’s economy. What’s more, every dollar a homeowner saves on the cost of electricity through solar is one more dollar they keep in their pockets and often spend right here in Maryland on other things.

We have directly encountered the effect of the sudden and unexpected drop in SREC prices in our work with co-ops across the state. According to installers we’ve spoken with across the state, numerous solar co-op members they’ve interacted with have decided not to go solar because of the falling SREC prices. It is essential for the state to stabilize SREC prices to keep Maryland’s solar market thriving. We urge this committee to support SB 7321/HB 1453.

Please see below for a list of Solar United Neighbors network members who have also expressed
their support for this legislation.


Lauren Barchi
Program Director, Solar United Neighbors of Maryland