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  • Writer's pictureMAREJ

Maryland Community Solar: Welcoming the sun as a tenant

For commercial and industrial real estate owners, no-cost rooftop revenue


We all want to be good neighbors, both at home and at work. Now, owners of large commercial and industrial buildings in Maryland can generate consistent monthly long-term revenue and be good neighbors to their surrounding communities at the same time.

In 2023, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 908, making Maryland’s community solar program permanent and allowing for unlimited community solar capacity.

Rooftop community solar projects allow multiple consumers to share the benefits of solar power from a single, centralized installation. With community solar, commercial real estate owners can invest in solar projects that power their own properties and provide renewable energy to the community. This evolved model can create new revenue streams for property owners and demonstrate support for the transition to clean energy.

New research published by Stanford University found that installing solar on large commercial rooftops could substantially increase access to solar for historically disadvantaged communities in the U.S. Amid an economic downturn, these findings invite commercial real estate owners to look up – to their properties’ rooftops.

Rooftop Revenue

With momentum building for community solar at the state and federal level, 2024 is a good time for Maryland commercial real estate owners to consider hosting community solar projects. Beginning the planning and design phase now could mean collecting lease payments in 2025, creating new revenue streams quickly with no upfront investment. This solar “tenant” pays rent year in and year out, regardless of whether the building is occupied.

The best commercial and industrial buildings for community solar projects have large, flat rooftops that are at least 30,000 s/f.

Commercial Rooftops: Putting Energy Closer to the People – and Faster

Rooftop projects are also usually built more quickly because they require no water or land impact studies, fewer permits, and never face the type of public opposition that ground-level solar panels create.

In addition, solar installations on commercial rooftops create energy production close to where it will be consumed. This proximity reduces transmission and distribution costs and increases efficiency, reducing the strain on the electrical grid.

Embracing community solar not only benefits forward-thinking commercial property owners but also expands the use of clean energy in Maryland while supporting local communities and the environment. As the state continues to invest in renewable energy, commercial real estate owners have a prime opportunity to be catalysts at the forefront of decarbonization.

Shaun Keegan is CEO and co-founder of Solar Landscape, the leading commercial and community solar developer in the United States.

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