New Maryland Solar Action Team coordinates solar supporter advocacy

By Zach Schalk on October 12, 2018
Solar United Neighbors Maryland Action Team member Nancy Franklin speaks at a Clean Energy Jobs rally in 2018.
Solar United Neighbors Maryland Action Team member Nancy Franklin speaks at a Clean Energy Jobs rally in 2018.

As Solar United Neighbors continues to grow the solar movement in Maryland, we are excited about new opportunities to organize and mobilize our base of solar supporters. Advancing solar policies that expand solar access and ensure that the rights of solar homeowners are protected is key to building Maryland’s clean energy future.

We must work together to create a clean and equitable energy system that directs control and benefits back to local communities, with solar on every roof and money in every pocket. To help us get there, we’ve created a new initiative to help organize our network into an advocacy force to be reckoned with: the Maryland Solar Action Team!

At the 2018 Maryland Solar Congress, Solar United Neighbors Policy and Advocacy Director Glen Brand outlined our plans for the new initiative, which will include foundational advocacy training and support, and signed up our first 15 Team members.

The Action Team will be led by active volunteers and our Maryland Program Director Lauren Barchi, with support from our national policy and communications staff. Through online and in-person outreach, we will encourage Solar United Neighbors of Maryland members and supporters to join the Action Team. Ultimately, the Action team will empower its members to be strong solar advocates in their communities throughout the state.

One of the Action Team’s main goals will be to increase the number of solar supporters in the state who are comfortable and motivated to engage with their elected and appointed representatives via email, phone, in-person meetings, public hearing testimony, and direct lobbying. A large part of this initiative will be training those Action Team members to be confident in their work and messaging. The Action Team will engage solar homeowner advocates on priority legislative and regulatory issues both at the state and local levels.

The teams first primary legislative focus will be helping to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act during the 2019 Maryland General Assembly. This work will include contacting by phone and e-mail key legislators, supporting and contributing to rallies, and a lobby day in early 2019. While this legislation, which would increase renewable energy production in Maryland to 50% by 2030 and increase local solar power by six-times, came up short last year, we’re confident that working together with our diverse coalition partners—and with your support—we can pass this vital bill in 2019.

Through the Solar Action Team program, we aim to build a more powerful grassroots network of empowered solar advocates in Maryland and provide a model for the Solar United Neighbors network in other states.

If you are interested in joining the Maryland Action Team, please e-mail Lauren Barchi at