I want to switch to renewable energy
Interested in learning more about solar, wind, and geothermal energy? Want to purchase cleaner energy for your home?
Not Sure Where to Start?
In Maryland, you have a lot of options when it comes to making environmentally-friendly energy choices and this can get confusing.
We are here to help! Here is an overview:
- Switch to Clean Energy – In Maryland, we are a choice state and you can buy your electricity from many different sources, including renewable energies like wind and solar. By purchasing clean energy, you will be paying for the creation of clean energy.
- Purchase an Electric Vehicle – Want to learn more about the benefits of buying an electric vehicle? Maryland EV and the Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington, D.C. have tons of information to help you make the correct choice and find incentives.
- Participate in Community Solar – If your home is not equipped for solar panels or you don’t want them on your roof, you can subscribe to a solar array in your service territory instead.https://evadc.org
- Join a Solar Co-op – Interested in putting solar panels on your house and not sure what to do or where to begin? Joining a solar co-op can reduce your costs, make installation easier, and answer all of your solar questions.
- Install Solar Panels or Solar Heating Yourself – Self installation of solar panels and solar heating is also an option.
- Purchase Renewable Energy Certificates – If renewable energy isn’t available through your utility, you can purchase renewable energy certificates to offset your use.
- Install a Geothermal System- Geothermal is just a fancy way to say “earth’s heat” – you can heat your home and hot water using this renewable energy.
Switch to Clean Energy
Because Maryland is a choice state, residents are empowered to make responsible energy choices. You can switch to clean or green energy by:
- purchasing green electricity from companies that provide wind and solar energy; OR
- subscribing to a community solar project based in Maryland, which can save you money on your overall electricity expenses.
Purchase an Electric Vehicle
EVs are powered by electric motors that use energy stored in batteries. Some run completely on electricity and some use a combination of electricity and a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine. Some you need to plug in to recharge. All EV’s produce fewer emissions than conventional vehicles.
There are many reasons to consider owning an electric vehicle, including lower fuel costs, tax incentives, reduced maintenance and environmental benefits.
If you are interested in learning more, The Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington, D.C. is an organization of electric vehicle owners, educators and enthusiasts dedicated to promoting the use of electric vehicles (EVs) as an environmental and energy benefit to society. They have monthly meetings, held on the third Wednesday of each month from 7:00 – 9:00 PM please check their EVENTS page for the current meeting location.
All of the following information was provided by Maryland EV.
The federal government offers a tax credit of $2,500 up to $7,500 per new EV purchased for use in the U.S. The size of the tax credit depends on the size of the vehicle and its battery capacity.
Maryland offers an excise tax credit of up to $3,000 for the purchase of qualified plug-in electric vehicles. Effective July 1, 2019, the tax credit amount is for the cost of the vehicle excise tax, up to $3,000.
When you drive an EV, you save on fuel costs because electricity is much cheaper than gas! U.S. electricity costs have been consistently lower than gasoline fuel for more than a decade. Compare for yourself with research data provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, and their eGallon tool.
There are more and more charging options available in the consumer market including Level 1 and Level 2 home and business chargers and DC Fast Charge stations. The time to fully charge an EV battery depends on the type of charger used.
- Purchase your own charger and fuel your car at your convenience—even overnight! You can also take advantage of free or lower-cost electricity when you visit charging stations.
- With more than 500 public stations in Maryland, you can easily incorporate charging your car into your daily routines. Check out the AFDC Station Locator website to find Maryland charging stations near you.
- For the installation of chargers, Maryland’s EVSE Rebate Program offers 40% of purchase and installation price, up to $700 for residential installations, $4,000 for commercial installations and $5,000 for retail service stations. More information can be found at Maryland Energy Administration’s EVSE Rebate Program webpage.
If you’re curious about driving an electric vehicle, you probably already know they are overall more environmentally friendly than traditional vehicles. That’s because when you drive an EV, you reduce the amount of emissions—and noise pollution—you add to the environment.
- Use the AFDC’s interactive tool to compare electricity sources and annual vehicle emissions by state.
Participate in a Community Solar Project
Community, or shared, solar makes it possible for anyone with an electric bill to access solar energy, even if they can’t put it where they live.
Residents receive the same benefit as installing solar panels on their roofs by subscribing to a large commercial project in the same utility area.
Still confused about community solar or not sure if it is right for you? Go to mygreenmontgomery.org to find out more details.Back to Top
Join a Solar Co-op
A solar co-op is a group of residents who come together in order to get better pricing and service on home solar installations.
Members receive expert advice and guidance, removing much of the hassle of do-it-yourself installation. Solar co-ops make installing a solar system easy.
Solar United Neighbors brings neighbors together and provides support throughout the entire process.Back to Top
Install Solar Panels or Solar Heating Yourself
Installing solar panels
The Maryland Energy Administration created a booklet entitled, A Maryland Consumer’s Guide to Solar. This booklet is an educational resource for Maryland residents who are considering installing a solar photovoltaic system on their home. As solar PV systems are expected to have lifetimes of 25 years or more, it is important for residents to have a good understanding of all aspects of the
decision to “go solar.”
Learn from one resident who went solar by reading their story.
To install a solar energy system, follow these steps:
- Determine if your home is in a sunny location with limited or no shade coverage by using the PVWatts® Calculator.
- Have a certified contractor evaluate the viability of your roof or contact Solar United Neighbors of Maryland for more information.
- Find a licensed solar installer that is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners or Roof Integrated Solar Energy.
- Financing for your solar panel purchase is available through Montgomery County Green Bank.
Install a solar hot water heater
There are also smaller solar panel system options for generating hot water in your home. Water heaters are second in line as the biggest draw on energy usage in our homes and account for nearly 20% of our energy bills!
Learn more about converting to cost-effective solar water heaters for your home at Energy.gov.
A note from the Office of Consumer Protection
Your roof is a key component of your solar panel system. A roof consists of a series of components (truss, decking, underlayment, shingles, etc.) which all work together. If any of these components are damaged, weak, or aged, it could impact the longevity of the solar panel system on your roof. Since you are investing in a system that could last decades, you need to make sure that your roof can stand the test of time. Read the fine print to make sure that removing the panels to replace your roof mid-term does not void the solar equipment or performance warranties.
More information about solar energy
An intern with dives into the nuts and bolts about how solar photovoltaic (PV) panels collect energy from the sun and convert it to electricity. Find out at mygreenmontgomery.org.
Back to Top
Purchase Renewable Energy Certificates
If renewable energy isn’t available through your utility, you can purchase renewable energy certificates to offset your use. When buying a renewable energy certificate through a third-party retailer, you’re purchasing the environmental benefit of the clean energy without electricity service. Use the Green Power Locator to find a renewable energy retailer in your area.
If you still have questions, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you with this process.Back to Top
Install a Geothermal System
Installing a geothermal or geoexchange pump is another option for switching to clean energy.
This system takes advantage of the stable temperatures of the soil by transferring heat stored in the Earth into your home during the winter, and transferring it out of your home and back into the ground during summer.
Geothermal systems can be initially expensive to install but typically pay off within 10 years. They are also quieter, have fewer maintenance issues, and last longer than traditional air conditioners.
Visit the Maryland Energy Administration to learn how to learn more about geothermal heating and cooling systems.
Read about the success story of one Montgomery County resident’s conversion to renewable energy sources, including geothermal, at My Green Montgomery.Back to Top
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