One reason more people don’t install solar or other renewable-energy projects on their homes is that they might move before realizing all the energy savings. If you borrowed money (even from yourself) for the installation, that loan moves with you and the solar cells stay behind. It just doesn’t pay.
One way to fix this problem is to fund the home renewable projects with loans secured by the property. The loan is paid back through a surcharge on property taxes. If you move, the project stays behind and so does the loan. It’s called Property Assessed Clean Energy and is taking off around the nation.
Maryland localities have expressed interest; Montgomery County has enacted legislation establishing a loan program. Governor O’Malley signed legislation on May 19, 2009, authorizing localities to issue bonds to support Clean Energy Loan Programs.
New legislation is pending in Annapolis — SB 720/HB 1014 — that would clarify state guidelines and encourage other localities to get on board. MEA and MCEC would provide training and other support statewide. Delegate Sue Hecht of Frederick City is leading the charge.
The impact of the Clean Energy Loan Program would be multiplied if another proposed bill also wins passage: SB 50/HB 801. It expands net metering by requiring the electric utility to pay money when a customer generates more power than they use (currently, homeowners only get a credit against the amount of power they use). Small businesses and local governments could also benefit. Here is an analysis of the proposal.
Home solar seems poised for lift-off in Maryland!