Solar panels

Solar power is one of the most popular Tier 1 renewable resources. 

By Oct. 1, 26.2 percent of consumer electricity must come from Tier 1 resources  

(Sept. 6, 2019) In accordance with Maryland’s goal of reaching 50 percent renewable energy by 2030, energy consumers will be required to purchase a certain amount of green energy as of Oct. 1. 

At that point, a law passed by the Maryland General Assembly this year requires consumers to purchase at least 26.2 percent of the electrical power from Tier 1 renewable resources, including at least 5.5 percent from solar energy. 

Other Tier 1 sources include wind, biomass, anaerobic decomposition, geothermal and small hydro, though solar energy is the most popular. The bill, known as the Clean Energy Jobs Act, passed through Maryland’s General Assembly in May without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature. 

Igor Conev, a property manager at Mann Properties in Ocean City, said the simplest way to explain the bill is that the state government is regulating what kind of electricity consumers must buy. 

“Whether you’re a believer in global warming or not, the fact of the matter is that there’s more demand for electricity,” Conev said. “Companies are trying to find new ways of producing electricity, which is why there’s a boom in solar panels, especially in our areas.” 

Conev added that up until now, electricity in Maryland was unregulated. He said Mann Properties regularly works with electricity brokers to get the best per kilowatt rate for clients. 

“Renewable energy is typically more expensive, so where it’s going to affect owners is their bottom line,” Conev said. 

As an example, he explained that Mann Properties received a quote a couple of years ago from a company out of Washington state that had solar farms in Maryland. They would charge 8.5 cents per kilowatt, as opposed to the company’s current 6.4 cents per kilowatt. 

Though that’s a large jump, Conev said that with time and technology progression, the price will decrease. According to a newsletter from Utility Savings Solutions, an East Coast energy broker, Maryland customers could absorb a $1-3 megawatt per hour increase. 

Even though green energy will be a higher up-front cost, Conev believes it is worth the investment. He advises consumers to take a look at their personal budgets and ensure that they’re using energy efficient lights, appliances and thermostat settings. 

“We all have to be more aware and less wasteful,” Conev said. “Then you can control your cost.” 

Conev added that if a consumer enters in an energy contract by the end of September, he or she will not be required to meet the new standards for renewable energy.  

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