Marylanders Can Go Green and Save Money, Too
Congratulations, Maryland property owners! Your state supports a wide array of tax credits and incentives for clean energy and energy efficiency products, services, and technologies.
Until recently, I did not realize the scope of available renewable energy and other green project credits, incentives, and financing options for Maryland homes and businesses. Then, back in December 2015, I was appointed by Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman to serve as co-chair of the Howard County Energy Task Force. This 18-member task force is charged with investigating and researching energy credits available for Howard County’s government, residents, and businesses.
Through my involvement on the task force, I have learned that many credits and incentives are available in Howard County, and also in other Maryland counties and jurisdictions and even nationwide. I put together the information below in the hope that it may help our Maryland readers save some money while supporting green energy initiatives.
Maryland Energy Administration Incentives
The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) manages grants, loans, rebates, and tax incentives that support the state’s goals to reduce energy consumption, promote renewable energy, take climate action, and generate green jobs. MEA helps Maryland residents, businesses, nonprofits, and local governments implement energy efficiency upgrades and install renewable energy systems.
For example, residents can receive tax credits for purchasing biofuels, grants for clean wood burning stoves, loans of up to $20,000 for energy-efficient improvements, and more. Whether you’re a resident, business owner, nonprofit, or public servant, the many incentives are worth investigating.
ENERGY STAR and ITC
MEA is working with ENERGY STAR to bring the benefits of energy efficiency and lower utility bills to Maryland residents. ENERGY STAR, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, is a voluntary labeling program to identify products that save energy and protect the environment. By choosing ENERGY STAR qualified products, families can save about a third on their energy bill.
The federal Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) also offers tax credits to commercial, industrial, utility, and agricultural businesses for certain technologies. The rebate amounts available for each technology in 2016 were:
|PV, Solar Water Heating, Solar Space Heating/Cooling, Solar Process Heat||30%|
|Hybrid Solar Lighting, Fuel Cells, Small Wind||30%|
|Geothermal Heat Pumps, Microturbines, Combine Heat and Power Systems||10%|
Some credits do have a dollar cap. For current information on incentives, including incentive-specific contact information, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).
MD-PACE is a statewide partnership between PACE Financial Servicing and the Maryland Clean Energy Center to build a statewide commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. PACE authorizes counties to work with private capital providers to finance qualifying energy-efficient improvement projects for commercial property owners. Repayment is collected through annual or semi-annual surcharges on the property’s tax bill.
PACE gives building owners access to flexible, upfront financing for energy-efficient improvements that ultimately increase their buildings’ values and save them money. For instance, one small community’s YMCA used the PACE program to upgrade to a cleaner, more efficient pool heating and electrical system, ultimately saving them thousands on energy bills. A lumber company used the program’s financing to install solar panels that now produce 100% of their energy needs and have saved them nearly $70,000 on energy costs in one year.
PACE requires 0% down and allows for long payback periods. PACE-approved counties in Maryland include Anne Arundel, Howard, Montgomery, and Queen Anne’s Counties. Using the PACE program, businesses have saved thousands of dollars and secured low interest loans for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and I am sure you can do the same.
Maryland Clean Energy Center
Maryland homeowners have their voice through the Maryland Clean Energy Center, created by the state’s General Assembly with an economic development mission to advance the adoption of clean energy and energy efficiency products, services, and technologies. Their website offers current information about incentives for renewables and efficiency programs.
I encourage you to check out the resources and links mentioned above and take advantage of the available savings, while also protecting the environment, boosting business, and preserving precious resources!
Rizwan Siddiqi, PE, is President and CEO of EBA Engineering, Inc. Rizwan co-chairs the Howard County Energy Task Force and is passionate about helping homeowners and businesses save money while protecting the environment. Rizwan can be reached at 240.547.1125 or email@example.com.