Lawmakers in Maryland and Georgia have given solar a boost with a handful of bills that passed both legislatures. In Georgia, legislators have changed how solar projects will be funded and in Maryland, a new type of solar project will be launched. Both efforts should provide a big boost to solar providers.
Under the terms of the Georgia bill, property owners will now be able to finance solar projects through third party lenders/servicers. Prior to this change, property owners had to pay the total cost of installation up front, slowing the development of larger scale and more expensive projects.
The bill is notable as Georgia is only the 23rd state to allow for solar financing. In the majority of states property owners have to pay the cost of installation up front.
In Maryland, lawmakers have passed a package of bills that will allow for the creation of a community solar pilot project. Community solar is essentially a shared solar installation that more closely resembles how traditional utilities are delivered. Multiple users can invest in the shared installation for power.
Community solar can be beneficial for renters or other individuals who would like solar as part of their energy mix but may not have access to or own the roof they have.
The package of bills will allow for an initial pilot, as well as a study of existing best practices for community solar from around the US. According to the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), 22 states allow for community solar, and approximately 58 such projects are currently in development in those states.