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Maryland targets LMI households for solar PV assistance

Eligible projects must already have had an energy audit and implemented energy efficiency improvements.

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) said it budgeted $1 million for its 2023 Low Income Solar Grant Program, which aims to extend solar energy to low-income households.

MEA said it anticipates awarding at least five, $200,000 grants to non-profit organizations and local governments that received an earlier award from MEA’s FY18 – FY23 Low-to-Moderate Income Energy Efficiency Grant Program. 

MEA said it now plans to cover up to $25,000 for each solar PV system installation that benefits a low-income household. Eligible households must already have received an energy audit as well as “significant” energy efficiency upgrades. The program defines “low income” as household income that is at or below 175% of the federal poverty level. Organizations that are funded have up to 18 months to install the solar PV systems.

The agency said it plans to award up to 100% of the photovoltaic (PV) solar system design and installation costs. Those costs may include funding for roof repair/replacement in the vicinity of the solar array, structural support of the roof, and mold remediation in areas needed to support the installation of the solar array and supporting equipment. 

PV systems funded through this pilot program must range in size from 1 kW to 10 kW. The grant funds cannot be used to facilitate a power purchase agreement. And, if a roof-mounted structure is not favorable for a home, then a ground-mounted system may be considered instead.

MEA said it would evaluate each application on a number of criteria, including:

● Leveraging factor (percentage of MEA grant funding/total cost of the solar project), as well as an applicant’s ability to leverage other funding to expand program activities.

● Number of energy-efficient home upgrades the applicant has completed as part of MEA’s LMI energy efficiency grant program. 

● Number and approximate sizing and the cost for completing the installation of the solar system.

● Identification of one or more solar installers. 

● Identification of one or more roofing companies.

● Innovative delivery or project design. Geographic diversity also may be used as a deciding factor.

MEZA said it would accept applications until November 15. More information and application materials can be found here.

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