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Solar-friendly Maryland passes Brighter Tomorrow Act – pv magazine USA

Hailed as groundbreaking legislation, SB 783 allows municipalities to speed up permitting, raises the net metering cap, supports a payment in lieu of taxes program and more.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed the Brighter Tomorrow Act (SB 783), making solar energy available to everyone regardless of income.

What the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) calls “landmark legislation” is expected to move the state closer to achieving solar energy goals while increasing access to solar energy for low- and moderate-income Marylanders. A year ago, Maryland’s governor announced that the state had set a goal to achieve 100% clean energy by 2035.

“The Brighter Tomorrow Act is one of the most important clean energy pieces of legislation ever passed in Maryland. The new law will significantly accelerate the use of solar energy by lowering installation costs and making rooftop solar accessible to Marylanders of all incomes,” said Leah Meredith, SEIA senior manager for the Mid-Atlantic region.Enabling local communities to use automated solar permitting will also go a long way to helping local governments save money and resources that can be spent on other important public services.”

Maryland has long been a solar-friendly state with supportive and forward-looking policies. Last year, for example, the state adopted a new community solar program that allows projects to exceed certain size limits if they are built on certain types of land, such as rooftops, brownfields or industrial areas. No wonder the state has made huge strides in solar capacity, jumping from 30th in the rankingsvol in 2023 according to SEIA to 19vol in 2024. The state currently has 2 GW of solar installed and obtains over 6% of its electricity from it.

One way to move the needle on solar adoption in the state is to facilitate faster solar permitting, and the Brighter Tomorrow Act authorizes municipalities to expedite permitting through SolarApp+.

SolarApp+ was released in 2021 by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Solar Energy Technology Office (SETO). The free online platform was developed to reduce the costs and time frames associated with obtaining permits for a solar installation and is said to shorten the permitting process by approximately 12 days.

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) has received $4.48 million from the Department of Energy (DOE) to support the adoption of SolarAPP+. Local authorities can also use SolarAPP+ to enable other forms of clean energy, including home energy storage systems.

The Brighter Tomorrow Act also supports a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) structure for ground-mounted solar installations, raises the net metering cap, and implements the Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) multiplier as a bridge to long-term reforms.

“This achievement is a direct result of the work of a statewide Maryland task force that examined solar energy incentives, and will play a critical role in facilitating the state’s transition to clean energy and strengthening the electric grid for our communities,” Meredith said. “The solar and storage industry greatly appreciates the partnership of Governor Moore, state lawmakers, environmental advocates and community organizations for securing this victory for Maryland’s economy and environment.”

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