Maryland’s neighborhood photo voltaic pilot program might help you get monetary savings — and the planet

Helpless. Powerless. Scared. That’s how we frequently really feel concerning the local weather disaster. But there are impactful actions we will all take to assist shield our planet for present and future generations. One of the best is to enroll in Maryland’s neighborhood photo voltaic pilot program.

Whereas most Marylanders take into consideration rooftop photo voltaic as the first possibility for powering their residence via clear electrical energy, neighborhood photo voltaic is turning into an more and more in style possibility throughout the nation with substantial advantages to each householders and renters. We are clients of Neighborhood Sun, a neighborhood photo voltaic supplier, and beneath we describe how their setup works (The nonprofit Solar United Neighbors provides a comparability of many various suppliers, which may also be a useful software for patrons).

Unlike rooftop photo voltaic — which can be an necessary technique of decreasing family carbon emissions — neighborhood photo voltaic is free. Not solely does neighborhood photo voltaic not require you to put in something on your house, however contributors additionally obtain reductions on their electrical energy invoice, with bigger financial savings accessible for lower-income households. This might help assist entry to scrub power for all households no matter revenue ranges or homeownership.

Everyone deserves entry to reasonably priced clear electrical energy, and all residents deserve entry to scrub air. These are interlinked problems with financial justice and public well being, which should be addressed as we glance to the longer term.

The means neighborhood photo voltaic works is straightforward. You subscribe to a “share” of the facility produced by a neighborhood photo voltaic challenge (a big photo voltaic array that’s linked to your energy grid). By subscribing, you obtain a month-to-month credit score in your electrical energy invoice for the power produced by your portion of the photo voltaic array.

The first step is to enroll and be added to a listing of consumers who’re searching for to be assigned to a regional photo voltaic facility. Once sufficient clients register, this permits a developer to provoke a brand new photo voltaic challenge, and as soon as the array is constructed and working, clients are assigned their share of the facility produced by the ability.

Regardless of the place your neighborhood photo voltaic facility is positioned, there isn’t any distinction within the electrical energy service at your house. Your utility nonetheless “delivers” your electrical energy via their energy traces. However, since most or all your electrical energy can be equipped by clear solar energy relatively than carbon-intensive coal or pure gasoline, you’ll be able to straight contribute to addressing local weather change and enhance air high quality all through the state.

Unlike different inexperienced energy choices on {the marketplace} — which may be unclear or generally deceptive — neighborhood photo voltaic is certainly one of few alternatives the place clients know precisely the place their renewable power is being sourced.

When you subscribe, you might be assured to pay much less to your electrical energy invoice. This is the way it works: Each month, along with your common electrical invoice, you obtain an bill out of your photo voltaic supplier. On your electrical invoice, you get a credit score (price discount) for the facility generated by your photo voltaic subscription. Your photo voltaic supplier invoices you for a similar quantity because the credit score — which implies you’d break-even — besides they provide a 5-10% low cost (and extra for low-income households), so that you all the time get monetary savings.

You can cancel at any time, for any motive, for free of charge. Although contemplating the benefit and advantages we will’t think about why you’d need to. This means a long-term contract is solely a profit to you since you’ll be able to cancel anytime, however in any other case you’ll stay enrolled with long-term financial savings locked in.

With neighborhood photo voltaic, your house’s electrical energy shouldn’t be impacted by climate. There is not any distinction in your house electrical energy service since you might be nonetheless linked to the native energy grid. Even if one thing catastrophic had been to occur to the photo voltaic array, you wouldn’t be impacted, since your electrical energy provide would revert to what you’ve now.

For those that are already getting their electrical energy equipped by an organization that claims to be “green” or “renewable”: You can (and may, in our opinion) join neighborhood photo voltaic. The course of and environmental advantages are simple, and as a substitute of paying a price premium for inexperienced energy, you’ll obtain a monetary financial savings and may take pleasure in realizing precisely the place your renewable energy comes from.

Michael Rosenblum ( is professor of biostatistics at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Julian Goresko ( is sustainability director at Johns Hopkins University. The opinions expressed herein are their very own and don’t essentially mirror the views of Johns Hopkins University.

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