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:
- 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.
- Switch to Electric Lawn Care – From the mower and blower to weed whips and chain saws – you can switch everything to electric nothing on his truck is gas anymore
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Solar Installation Information– Maryland Energy Administration has determined three areas where residents have received misleading information.
- 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.
- Purchase Carbon Offsets – Carbon offsets are a practical and effective way to address climate change and encourage the growth of renewable energy.
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.
Montgomery County Department of Transportation and the Department of Permitting Services have put together Charging Permitting Guidelines.
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.
Ready to take the pledge to make your next vehicle electric? Commit to making your next vehicle electric.
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.
Montgomery County released its first ever guidelines for installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at home. The guidelines regulate and provide for permitting the installation of privately owned car charging stations in garages, driveways and in the public right of way adjacent to County streets.
- 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.
Switch to Electric Lawn Care
This video is a GREAT primer on the issue of electric vs gas powered lawn equipment, why it is important & includes a comparison of the economics which is wildly beneficial for the electric version. (Factoid: one hour of leaf blowing equals the emissions of 1100 miles driven in the average car like a 2017 Toyota Camry)
All of this information is from Shift2Electric
Battery technology has advanced dramatically in the past decade and due to this, we’re seeing more powerful electric cars and more capable electric lawnmowers, snow blower and other lawn equipment. For most residential uses, electric equipment are actually a superior and more economical choice than gas powered ones. We hope that these manufacturer agnostic resources and the educational webinars we offer help you in choosing the new, cleaner lawn equipment for your use case.
Why electric lawn equipment?
Here is a quick list of benefits that electric offer over the traditional combustion engine technology:
- Less energy use
- No emissions (user, neighborhood, city, planet)
- Much quieter (user, neighborhood)
- Less vibration
- No need to mess with gas (buy, store, off-gas)
- Always starts
- Cheaper to use (dollars and time)
- Easy maintenance
- Lighter weight
- Easier storage (can be stored upright)
Check out our webinar recordings at https://fresh-energy.org/goelectric/
Electric Lawn Mower Info Lists
Did you know that there are over 50 battery and 20 corded mowers available in the US? These lists provide basic specifications of different electric mower manufacturers’ models. Since some manufacturers have numerous variations of their mowers, we have limited the number of mowers on the list to three per manufacturer. Please visit the manufacturers’ website to find out more details about all of their models. Battery list and Corded list are brought to you by the American Lung Association of Minnesota.
Battery chain saws, pole saws, trimmers and leaf blowers Info List
In addition to mowers manufacturers are providing a wide variety of other electric lawn equipment. Please visit the manufacturers’ website to find out more details about all of their models. This list is brought to you by the American Lung Association of Minnesota.
Battery Snow Blower Info List
There are more and more electric snow blower options available. Battery technology improvements and technology developments are enabling these machines to compete with traditional technology. Please visit the manufacturers’ website to find out more details about all of their models. The Battery Chainsaw Info List (March 2021) is brought to you by the American Lung Association of Minnesota.
Commercial Lawn Mower Info List
Number of commercial electric lawn mowers available keeps increasing. Battery technology improvements and technology developments are enabling these machines to compete with traditional technology. Please visit the manufacturers’ website to find out more details about all of their models. The Battery Zero Turn Mower Info List (March 2021) is brought to you by the American Lung Association of Minnesota.
Switch to Clean Energy
As a Maryland resident, you have the option to choose who supplies your electricity.
Maryland is an energy choice state where customers can choose their electricity and natural gas providers. Some suppliers regularly offer rates and service that are 10% or more cheaper than the utility company. Because Maryland is a choice state, residents are empowered to make responsible energy choices.
You can switch to clean or green energy by:
- searching for certified green power options through Green-e
- finding an electricity supplier that meets your needs – the Maryland Public Service Commission has created a website for residential electricity shoppers, MD Electric Choice website;
- subscribing to a community solar project based in Maryland, which can save you money on your overall electricity expenses.
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
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.
Here are projects available to Montgomery County residents:
- Paddington Square – Montgomery County Green Bank has its first project and this is the County’s first community solar project built to serve income qualifying households. Subscribers will play a critical role in shaping the future of energy in Maryland.
- Oaks Landfill Community Solar Project – This is a groundbreaking project for Montgomery County and Maryland as a whole. This is the largest community solar farm in the country to reserve 100% of its power for income qualifying residents who receive their electricity via Pepco. This ensures residents who qualify to receive 25% savings on their electricity costs every month.
- Ampion – There will soon be solar panels installed on the WMATA stations at the Naylor, Southern Ave, Cheverly, and Anacostia Metro stations. As a result, residents in Montgomery (Pepco service territory) can sign up for shares of the clean energy produced by these solar farms! If you’re looking to go greener, support local clean energy AND save on your electric bills.
- Additional Community Solar Projects
Still confused about community solar or not sure if it is right for you? Find out more from the Department of Energy.Back to Top
Join a Solar Co-op
We may have a new name and new logo but Capital Area Solar Switch will continue to provide residents living around the DC area with the opportunity to learn about and install rooftop solar panels, battery storage, and electric vehicle charging stations for their homes.
This program leverages the power of group buying, and the expertise of partner organization, Solar United Neighbors to ensure participants get a quality system at a discounted price. Members of Capital Area Solar Switch include Washington, D.C.; Arlington and Falls Church in Virginia; Prince George’s, Frederick. Montgomery County including the Town of Poolesville and Maryland cities Bowie, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Rockville, and Takoma Park.
- 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.
- Many Montgomery County residents have installed solaras a result of the solar co-ops.
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 or SunCalc or Project Sunroof
- 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.
- Consumer financing guide to solar – This was developed for DC but most of it is broadly applicable. Pages 22-24 contains questions to ask when interviewing solar companies.
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
Office of Consumer Protection also has created a page dedicated to solar financing if you have questions about paying for your solar system.
Financing your project
Montgomery County Green Bank also provided an informational session for the 4th Solar Co-op about financing, you can view Going Solar in Maryland — Solar Financing with Montgomery County Green Bank for more information.
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 My Green Montgomery.Back to Top
Solar Installation Facts
Maryland Energy Administration has recently been contacted by a number of Maryland residential consumers who expressed concerns that solar installation companies in Maryland have not been completely forthcoming in sales-related interactions with them.
After discussing this matter with these consumers, MEA believes that they may not have received sufficiently transparent information during initial discussions with the solar installers’ representatives in three key areas:
1) the process to obtain the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC): https://news.maryland.gov/mea/2022/10/11/federal-investment-tax-credit/
2) future SREC pricing: https://news.maryland.gov/mea/2022/10/11/future-srec-prices/
3) anticipated electricity savings from a solar installation: https://news.maryland.gov/mea/2022/10/11/residential-electricity-costs-in-maryland/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
Purchase Carbon Offsets
What is a carbon offset?
At its core, an offset is an accounting mechanism. It’s a way of balancing the scales on pollution. And offset schemes have been used successfully in the past to solve other environmental problems, like nitrogen oxide air pollution that contributes to acid rain.
With them, you can counteract your personal carbon emissions—your “carbon footprint”—while contributing to a more sustainable future.
What is a “Carbon Footprint”?
All the products and energy you use have associated emissions. The most straightforward example might be the CO2 emissions from burning natural gas to heat your home. As for the new jeans you just bought, there are emissions associated with growing the cotton, from the fertilizer used and the carbon lost from the farmland soils, as well as emissions from the energy used to manufacture the final product and to transport it to you. There are emissions every time you use your washing machine and dryer, and again when those jeans get tossed into the garbage in a few years, when they end up in a landfill and ultimately emit methane. The combination of emissions caused by your home, transportation, and daily life is known as your “carbon footprint.”
Find a Green-e® Certified Renewable Energy and Carbon Offset Product
Green-e® certified renewable energy and carbon offset products meet the most stringent environmental and consumer protection standards in North America and will ensure there is no double counting. You can search for certified green power and renewable energy certificate programs for your home or business, and carbon offset products to offset your emissions from activities like driving and flying. Please note that “Green-e Direct” certifications are private contracts that are not open to new subscribers.Back to Top
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