The Dernogalizer

March 12, 2010

Project Sunburst for Public Buildings in Maryland

Filed under: Energy/Climate,MD Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 2:59 am

I want to bring attention to a great opportunity for local governments and universities in Maryland to install solar power, and pay for it at a cheap rate.  Check out the Maryland Energy Administration’s Project Sunburst, a stimulus grant program of $1,000 a KW for solar generation on public buildings.  The owner of the building must enter into a Power Purchase Agreement, where the solar company installs the panels for free, and the recipient of the solar power pays a typical electric  rate for it for several years, just like they would for any other source of energy.  The catch is that because of the $1,000 a KW subsidy, the cost per kilowatt for this solar power will be dirt cheap.

Below is the information from MEA’s website on Project Sunburst

Project Sunburst Overview


The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) has received significant funding through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) to promote clean, affordable, and reliable energy.  As part of this initiative, MEA has set aside a significant portion of this funding to promote the installation of renewable energy systems on public buildings in Maryland through Project Sunburst.  MEA is seeking public partners that have a portfolio of large project sites available.  In order to maximize available incentives and limit upfront costs, Project Sunburst Partners will host renewable energy systems and contract for the electricity generated through power purchase agreements (PPA).


This agreement between MEA and Project Sunburst Partner covers:

  • Grant Funding
  • Technical Support
Grant Funding

MEA will provide a rebate of up to $1,000 per kilowatt-DC of photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed.  These funds will be transferred from MEA to a Project Sunburst Partner upon successful signing of a financeable PPA contract between the Sunburst Partner and a renewable energy service provider, provided all requirements, terms and conditions have been met.   If financing cannot be acquired, or other conditions prohibit the completion of the renewable energy project, Sunburst Partner must return the funds to MEA.

Technical Support

There may be transaction costs associated with contracting for renewable energy.   MEA’s goal is to reduce, to the extent possible, transaction costs related to identification of project host sites, request for proposal (RFP) development and evaluation, and power purchase agreement (PPA) development and execution by sharing best practices between Sunburst Partners and potentially retaining technical consultants to provide necessary support.  MEA may provide other support as necessary, including assistance with Solar Renewable Energy Credits.


In order to qualify as a Project Sunburst Partner you must:

  • be considered a public entity for tax purposes,
  • own the project host sites such as building(s), parking structures, etc
  • identify viable rooftops or other project locations,
  • submit project identification forms to MEA
  • sign a grant agreement with MEA indicating intent to:
    • conduct an RFP or other appropriate process to contract for renewable electricity,
    • sign a financeable long term PPA contract for the energy produced by the host site(s), and
    • comply with all MEA, Department of Energy, and ARRA terms and conditions related to use of funds.

Expression of Interest

Interested Potential Sunburst Partners should:

Selection Criteria

MEA will evaluate projects based on quality of proposed locations, size, geographic diversity, and ability to execute deals quickly.  Given the significant amount of funding available, MEA anticipates that it will be able to fund the majority of eligible projects that are proposed provided they can meet the milestones and deadlines below.

Milestone                                                                                                    Deadline

Initiate Site Identification                                                                         Suggested start ASAP

Submit Project Identification Forms to MEA                                        Rolling deadline of Mar 26, 2010

Partner signs grant agreement with MEA to reserve funds                Rolling deadline of Apr 16, 2010

Partner issues RFP for purchase of solar electricity                            Suggested by May 14, 2010

Partner identifies winning bidder(s)                                                        Suggested by July 9, 2010

Partner signs PPA contracts with developer                                         Deadline of Aug 6, 2010

Developer builds and commissions systems                                         Deadline of Feb 25, 2011


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