Carve Out For Solar May Get Larger In Maryland!

MSSI Logo Carve Out For Solar May Get Larger in Maryland!

On the very last day of this year’s General Assembly here in Maryland, elected officials passed several revisions to its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards, outlined in the Clean Energy – Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Revisions Bill (HB1106/SB0921)! The changes mandate more progressive renewable energy implementation that simultaneously carves out a larger percentage devoted to solar-generated renewable energy. Yay, Maryland General Assembly! 

Governor Larry Hogan Vetoes Bill

However, despite a veto-proof vote from the General Assembly Maryland Governor Larry Hogan vetoed the Bill in May. In a letter to the Maryland Speaker of the House, Hogan outlined his objections, citing tax increases as his objection to the Bill. it is expected that the General Assembly will override the veto in January 2017, when they reconvene in a regular session. 

Solar Carve Out May Increase

According to the proposed revisions, utilities will be required to generate 25% of their electricity from Tier 1 renewable sources by 2020. In Maryland solar energy is considered a Tier 1 renewable source. The prior Standard mandated that utilities only had to produce 20% by 2022. In order to meet the mandates, utilities can buy Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to cover gaps in renewable energy production. We are hopeful that the new, more aggressive goals, will push demand for Solar RECs. 

In addition to tighter renewable energy goals, the carved out percentage devoted specifically to solar energy has moved up to 2.5% by 2020. In combination with the 2016 Greenhouse Gas Bill, these changes will serve to strengthen solar energy production in our state. According to the Maryland Climate Coalition, “A 25% clean energy standard is expected to create roughly 4,600 direct jobs in our region from the land-based wind industry alone – from engineers to electricians to operators.  By increasing the carve-out for solar, we will also see the growth of nearly 1,000 new Maryland solar jobs per year.” Sounds like some good news for solar here in Maryland. Here is a chart that outlines the new carve-out for solar:

Maryland Carve-Out - 2

Possible Increase in SREC Demand

We are hopeful that these changes may increase demand for solar RECs as utilities work to meet the more stringent yearly goals. According to Kevin Flett on the Flett Exchange blog, there is an overabundance of SRECs on the market and the new standards in the proposed RPS may “soak up the oversupply.” 

For more information, the Bill in its entirety is contained here, a wrap up of conservation legislation from this year’s General Assembly can be found here and some helpful, but general, information about RECs, sRECs and MD’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards can he found at the following links:

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Installation Pictures From The Sky: MSSI Installation in Dickerson, Maryland

As part of our continuing “Installation Pictures From the Sky” series; we’re sharing all of our new aerial photos we’re taking of previous installs. Ooolala, solar!

Chapman1

In 2015 a retiree came to us wishing to help the environment and lower her power bills. Pleased with the size of her 5.38 kW system and how much money it saves her we’re happy to report that since installing in June of 2015, this system has generated 10.79 Megawatt hours of energy or 10,790 kilowatts of energy!  In total thus far, this system has saved 16,39.70 lbs of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, which is equivalent to 420 trees! We got it just right!

 

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Federal Court Affirms Social Cost of Carbon

MSSI Logo Supreme Court Affirms The Social Cost of Carbon

US Supreme Court

Good news in the fight against global warming came out from the Supreme Court this week! The Court ruled against a suit brought by a trade group representing refrigerator manufacturers who were suing the government for its use of the “social cost of carbon” in determining efficiency standards. In effect, the $36 per person calculation determined by a consortium of bureaucrats working in concert with academic economists has been confirmed as a legitimate means to set goals and assess efficiency.

smokestack-dollars

The Social Cost of Carbon

The social cost of carbon has been one of the largest methods used to guide policy decisions with regard to global warming. This theoretical number, or cost, is based upon findings that Michael Greenstone, an economist at the White House, and his cadre of bureacrats and other economists extrapolated after studying all of the current projections and studies done by economists on the costs of global warming. In fact, the number they eventually settled on, is right in the middle. In other words, some studies put it lower and some higher.

Baton Rouge Flooding

1 in a 1,000-years flood in Baton Rouge, LA.

Calculating Social Cost of Carbon

The economic studies in question sought to generate “a comprehensive estimate of climate change damages and includes changes in net agricultural productivity, human health, property damages from increased flood risk, and changes in energy system costs, such as reduced costs for heating and increased costs for air conditioning.” The EPA currently uses the $36 per person as their benchmark and this number, or cost, is what has been used to guide the policies within the Clean Power Plan.

While the Clean Power Plan is on hold, the means by which the Obama Administration and the EPA arrived at their policy choices has been affirmed!

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Our Latest: Solar Looking Good In Sykesville, Maryland

This Sykesville family is among our biggest fans. When one of the home owners called us, she was adamant that she just wanted to work with us. She had read our reviews and was ready to take the plunge.

Lilley1

Having just purchased their dream home, they wanted to go solar! This 10.23 kW system covers their families electric needs by 76%. For the month of August, this system has already produced 223 kWh!

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The Current State of the Clean Power Plan

MSSI Logo Current State of the Clean Power Plan

Three Amigos No Speech Bubble

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Barack Obama stride the halls in Ottawa.

On July 2nd, the leaders from North America caused quite a stir during their annual summit, by not only “strutting their stuff,”, but by also agreeing to an “ambitious plan to generate half their energy from carbon-free sources in less than a decade.” With 2025 as the proposed deadline, the goal is indeed impressive. 

Eiffel Tower

The Clean Power Plan and the Paris Talks

In the United States under the presidency of Barack Obama, the EPA released the Clean Power Plan that would, in effect, curb carbon pollution by regulating it under the jurisdiction of the Clean Air Act. The Administration’s goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired electric power plants by 32 percent below levels recorded in 2005 by 2030 (compare this to Maryland’s more aggressive goal: 40% less greenhouse gases than recorded 2006 levels by 2030). The goal of the plan is right in step with what the President championed when meeting with fellow national leaders of North-America last week, in fact, according to scientists the “Clean Power Plan is the only federal policy capable of enabling the U.S. to uphold its end of the Paris climate agreement and halt catastrophic consequences of global warming.

CO2 Regulations

Most US Citizens Approve of Climate Action

Far and away the largest source of carbon pollution in the US is coal-fired power plants. While there has been an attempt to create clean coal technologies, coal-fired power plants are still the largest carbon polluters on the national stage. The EPA and the Obama Administration would like to regulate the emissions coming from those plants under the jurisdiction of the Clean Air Act. Two studies from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, one in 2014 and another in 2016, found that most Americans (61% in 2016) believe that we should be reducing our own greenhouse gases and that we should set stronger carbon limits on coal-fired power plants (63% in 2014). The US public seems to be on board for action.

Female Justices

Clean Power Plan Held Up In Courts

Even though coal use is on the wane due to the affordability of natural gas and/or investment in renewables, many coal-heavy states, energy corporations and utilities are fighting the Clean Power Plan and are suing the EPA. In early February, the Supreme Court granted a stay (with dissents from Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayer and Kagan) to send the case down to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Court for review. In early May, the Court of Appeals decided to issue an en banc on the hearings and will pick it back up for review in September.

Meanwhile Back in Maryland…

Despite overwhelming support from a bi-partisan General Assembly that created a virtually veto-proof piece of legislation, Governor Larry Hogan vetoed the Bill (SB 921) that would have expanded clean energy and clean energy jobs here in Maryland. All of this despite the fact that he had signed the preceding 2016 Maryland Greenhouse Gas Reduction Bill. It is expected that the General Assembly will use a legislative override when they reconvene in the Fall to pass the Bill regardless of his support. Maryland is a state where the majority of its populace not only supports regulation on carbon emissions, but simultaneously desires and invests in clean energy. Similar to the debate happening at a national level, many lawmakers seem to be out of step with the direction their people are moving in. We are hopeful that the General Assembly will pass the clean energy and clean energy jobs bill come fall as it will only strengthen the investment in solar.

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