Monday, April 16, 2012

Maryland Solar REC Prices May Get a Boost

The 4.32-kW solar PV array on the garage at Elk Ridge Native Plant Preserve is an example of a "customer generator" system that is creating Solar Renewable Energy Credits in the Maryland market.

The Maryland Solar REC market (SREC) has historically been pretty strong. There is a move afoot to keep it so as the legislature moves through HB1187 and SB791. These bills seek to adjust the SREC target to keep the market from becoming saturated. has some better analysis and a couple of graphs that would make a professor at any business college proud.

The result of this legislation is expected to be quite positive in the short-term for customer generators in Maryland. Really, this legislation is just in time as the present RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) requirement/quota was in danger of being overwhelmed by production from customer generators as well as by new utility-scale solar farms in the state. Failure to adjust initial RPS goals in the face of new solar capacity has allowed the SREC markets in Ohio and Pennsylvania to lapse into being something just short of insignificant.

Homeowners and businesses are eager to invest in solar. This is borne out time and again as incentive programs at the state level are overwhelmed by willing participants. The proposed changes to the Maryland solar carve-out is a temporary prop that will need further bolstering possibly as soon as next year. Public interest in solar exceeds the low bar that has been set by a number of states in their respective RPSs. Raising this bar is just a stop gap measure begging a better longer term system of compensating clean power producers for the premium energy that they generate.


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