The Dernogalizer

March 16, 2010

Solar firms back Maryland Clean Energy Loan proposals

Filed under: Energy/Climate,MD Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 9:25 pm
Tags: ,

I want to re-post a piece by James Cartledge of Brighter Energy about the Clean Energy Loans legislation Maryland is considering, and solar firms supporting.  For more information on the program, you can check out UMD for Clean Energy’s info page.

Solar energy companies in Maryland are backing proposals for a property-based financing scheme for residential renewable energy systems.

Installer and integrator Standard Solar, Inc., and its energy-auditing subsidiary Standard Energy Solutions testified last week in Annapolis before Maryland’s Senate Finance Committee and House Economic Matters Committee.

They want to see the state General Assembly passing legislation allowing municipal authorities to fund new home-based generation and efficiency systems through additions to peoples’ property taxes.

The Assembly is expected to consider a proposed Clean Energy Loan scheme in the coming weeks, as put forward by Democrats Sue Hecht and Thomas M Middleton.

Delegate Hecht is lead sponsor of House Bill 1014, while Senator Middleton is lead sponsor for its companion legislation, Senate Bill 720.

The legislation would allow energy efficiency systems and renewable energy generating equipment under 100kW in scale to be funded through a surcharge on a property’s tax bill.

Loans could be up to 10% of a total property’s value and would be paid over a 15-year period. If a homeowner moved house, the loan repayments would be picked up by the new owners.

Investments

Zach Bidle, a certified energy auditor at Standard Energy Solutions, told state lawmakers: “Perhaps the single most important benefit of Clean Energy Loans is how they help homeowners recoup their efficiency investments. Because investments are paid for through property tax assessments, any remaining obligation remains with the property, not with the previous property owner.”

Braxton Proctor, a solar installer at Gaithersburg-based Standard Solar, said he was often approached while on the roofs of customers’ homes by neighbors seeking information about ways to finance energy improvements.

“We can and should do more to get homeowners the information and the financing tools they need,” Mr Proctor said.

Some 18 states in the US now have legislation allowing property tax-based clean energy schemes.

Two authorities in Maryland – Annapolis and Montgomery County – have launched or are launching home-based energy programs.

Under the legislation being proposed in the General Assembly, counties and municipalities would be given the option of delegating the administration of their clean energy loans to the new Maryland Clean Energy Center.

Six municipalities in Prince George’s County have already requested such an option.

Standard Solar Chief Executive Officer Anthony Clifford, said: “Clean Energy Loan Programs can help homeowners and businesses overcome several hurdles in assessing and paying for better windows, more efficient heating and cooling systems, improved insulation and other upgrades while improving their cash flow, generating in-state jobs and reducing the state’s reliance on dirty, costly and often volatile sources of fossil fuels.”

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