Maryland Solar Panel Buyers Guide (Installation & Efficiency 2023)

Within a single year, Maryland’s ranking for solar jumped from 27 to 18.1 The state’s ambitious Renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and attractive incentives make it a great place to go solar.

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Historically, Maryland has not been known as a solar power state. The average cost of a solar power system in Maryland is about $2.77 per watt (W), which is considerably higher than the national average of $2.66/W. However, strong pro-solar policies are changing that.

The availability of noteworthy solar incentives in Maryland, coupled with increasing electricity prices makes it worth going solar in the Old Line State.

Here is a list of the steps involved in the process of converting to solar in the state of Maryland.

Step 1: What to Consider When Buying Solar Panels

Step 2: Getting a Quote from a Solar Provider 

Step 3: Signing a Solar Contract 

Step 4: What to Expect on Solar Panel Installation Day 

Step 5: Final Inspection for Installed Solar Panels

Step 6: Permission to Operate (PTO) 

Step 7: Set Back and Enjoy Your Solar Energy

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Best National Provider

Nationwide Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage


  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer
Badge icon

Trinity Solar

Solar Veteran

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


  • Many financing options
  • Family-owned and -operated
  • Makes charitable contributions
  • Relatively short workmanship warranty


  • Limited service area
Badge icon

Lumina Solar

Outstanding Regional Installer

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost


  • Comprehensive service offerings
  • Offers products from leading manufacturers
  • NABCEP-certified technicians


  • Relatively young company
  • Slightly limited service area

Step 1: What to consider when Buying Solar Panels in Maryland

Maryland solar panelsMaryland’s higher-than-average solar costs and average amounts of solar exposure mean that photovoltaic (PV) solar panels may not be a solution for everyone in the state. This makes it necessary to research if solar is a good fit for your specific needs.

Research If Solar Panels Are a Good Fit For You in Maryland

The first step to determine the suitability of solar power for you is to calculate how many solar panels you need, and how much they might cost. You can use our solar calculator to calculate the system size specific to your home.

Besides the price tag, it also matters how much solar can save you. In Maryland, the average system can save the owner over $12,000, which is a substantial amount.

Researching Maryland solar incentives and policies, such as net metering, is also a good idea. Thankfully, Maryland has an excellent net metering program, which assigns the same value to both the energy credits and retail rates. Maryland residents are incentives:

Here is a table that compares several financial parameters of solar power in Maryland with national averages.

Maryland Average U.S. Average
Cost of Solar $2.77/W $2.66/W
Average System Size 10 kW 9 kW
Average System Cost $27,700 $23,940
Average System Cost After Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) $19,390 $16,758
Solar Payback Period 13 years 11 years

Research How to Finance Solar Panels

Compared to the average pricing in the U.S., the average solar panel system in Maryland costs over 10 cents more for every watt of installed capacity. This takes the final system price closer to the $28,000 mark before applying any incentives, like the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

While a cash purchase racks up the maximum savings of any payment option, not many homeowners can spend such a large amount upfront. This makes solar financing particularly important in Maryland.

Solar companies in Maryland typically offer the following financing options:

  • Solar loan: A solar loan is like any other bank loan, where you borrow a certain amount and repay it over a few years. Some institutions may even offer low-interest “green loans” for promoting clean energy.
  • Solar lease: A solar lease allows you to rent the system and pay monthly amounts to the installer. This avoids a large, one-time expense, but also saves the least money over the system’s lifespan, especially since you do not own the system and cannot claim the federal solar tax credit (ITC).
  • PPA: A power purchase agreement is, as the name suggests, an agreement to pay a certain amount for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) purchased from the system. Similar to a lease, the system ownership remains with the installer, and you cannot benefit from the tax credit.

Thankfully, Maryland residents can benefit from multiple financing options. The Maryland Energy Finance Initiative is a collection of programs, financing tools, and other resources designed to help fill the funding needs of clean energy projects.2 One of the programs is the Jane E. Lawton Conservation loan program, which offers 0 or 1% interest loans to government or commercial entities.3

Several MD installers also work with a variety of private lending institutions operating in the state.

Aside from financing options, there are a few other solar incentives in Maryland that can help you save money on your solar investment.

  • Federal solar tax credit (ITC)
  • Residential Clean Energy Rebate Program
  • Renewable Energy Credits (REC)
  • Property tax exemption
  • Sales tax exemptions
  • Net Metering
  • Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC) for each megawatt-hour of energy generation

Step 2: Getting a Quote from a Solar Provider 

Once you have decided that solar power is a good fit for you, it is time to start looking for solar providers.

solar panels maryland
Credit: Kelly / Pexels

Picking a Solar Installer

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), nearly 200 solar companies serve the residents of Maryland.4

While most companies may seem identical at the onset, they may have subtle differences such as equipment offered, warranty terms, etc. It is a good idea to look at the list of the best solar companies in Maryland, and even the best companies in the solar industry.

Going with a large, national company can get you reliable service, but local installers can often provide more personalized service and attention. Make sure that you shortlist a few companies and request quotes from all of them. This allows you to compare the installers on various parameters, and may also help you negotiate the pricing.

What to Expect After Requesting a Quote

When you request the installer for a quote, they will collect some information from you. This includes your home address, which will help them study the roof layout using satellite imagery. The company will also request your electricity bills — so they’ll know how to craft a solar array specifically for your energy needs — and sometimes information about your electric panel.

Based on this information, the company will prepare a home solar design for your house and share it with you in a proposal. This proposal will also include the installation cost of your solar energy system, as well as layout, equipment brands, payback period and other relevant details.

This is a good stage to ask any questions you may have, such as financing options, availability of solar rebates, tax incentives, warranty terms, etc.

Consider Purchasing Solar Accessories

Aside from the core solar panel system, there are several other accessories you can add. The most important one can be a solar battery, which is useful in the event of an outage and can even help lower the bills further where time-of-use pricing is applicable.

EV chargers and solar carports are other great examples, considering the rapid electrification of everything that is currently in effect.

Step 3: Signing a Solar Contract in Maryland 

There is no single best installer in Maryland, which means you have to figure out which company suits you best. Once you have received all the quotes, read them thoroughly and compare the shortlisted installers.

Here are a few things to look for:

How Do Solar Warranties Work in Maryland?

Solar warranties are extremely important, considering the money invested in the system and its promised lifespan. In Maryland, similar to most other places, solar panel systems come with three types of warranties:

  • Equipment warranty: The equipment warranty applies to your solar panels, inverters, batteries, and other components, and warrants them against manufacturing defects. Depending on the brand, solar panels can have 10 to 30 years of warranty, while batteries and inverters come with a 10- to 15-year warranty.
  • Workmanship/labor warranty: The labor warranty is your installer’s way of promising you that their installation quality is satisfactory. Based on the installer, this warranty can range anywhere from 5 years to 25 years, with 10 years being the most common.
  • Performance guarantee: This guarantee assures you that the solar panels will not degrade too fast. Most panels offer a performance guarantee for their 20th and 30th year, e.g. 90% of the rated output by year 20, and 80% by year 30.

When finalizing an installer, make sure you hit the right balance of low cost and long warranties.

When Can I Expect Solar Service to Go Live?

The process of converting to solar – from getting a quote to switching on your system – involves several steps. With the permitting, inspection, and other steps, it may take up to three months in Maryland and can be even longer in some cases.

Solar Panel Permits in Maryland

Since your solar panels are mounted on the roof, most city offices generally require solar power systems to have some sort of building permit. There may also be other civil/electrical permits associated with your system.

In Maryland, different cities may have different permitting requirements. For example, the city of Baltimore requires a building permit for systems above 10 kW capacity and also mandates an electrical permit for a system.5

In Anne Arundel County, the cost of the building permit fee correlates with the cost of the project, with projects over $10,000 costing between $95 and $140.6

And in Prince George County, there’s a minimum fee of $231, plus a fee of $55 + ((Construction cost x 0.0088)) + 5% technology fee and a construction cost of $2 per watt or ($2000 per kilowatt).7

The permitting process requires you or your installer to submit several documents, including the system designs, plans, etc. Fortunately, your installer will handle the entire permitting process for you, and will also include any permit fees in the original quote.

Solar & Utility Interconnection

Aside from the permits required by the city office, your utility company also has some paperwork requirements before your system goes on your roof. Unless you are installing solar on an off-grid cabin, you will need to interconnect your system with the local grid. This will make you eligible for net metering, saving you further on utility bills.

Although it is possible to install an off-grid system while being in a utility’s coverage area, it is not recommended.

Step 4: What to Expect on Solar Panel Installation Day in Maryland

Once your solar company receives all the required permits and approvals for your system, they will schedule an installation date and time with you. The system installation involves mounting panels on your roof, installing inverters and batteries in your garage or similar space, and wiring everything together.

A typical installation should take a day or two, but it can also last up to a week based on the size and complexity of the job. The homeowner does not need to be home for the entire installation process. However, it is advisable to be present through the process to understand the system’s functioning.

Step 5: Final Inspection for Installed Solar Panels in Maryland

Once the installation of your solar panel system is complete, there is one final step before you can switch it on. Your utility company will need to inspect the system for safety before allowing you to use it.

Since it is interconnected with the grid, the utility representative inspects the system for electrical safety norms. The inspection takes an hour or more, and it is a good idea to schedule it when you are at home. There are no extra costs for the system inspection.

Step 6: Permission to Operate (PTO) in Maryland 

After your system inspection is done, your utility company will permit you to Operate (PTO). The PTO is the final approval for operating your solar panels, and at this stage, you can switch on your system.

You can turn on the system using the main breaker switch provided by the installer. However, it is a good idea to consult your installer on how to safely turn the system on or off. If your inverter/controller has a display unit, it will also switch on with the system and show that the system is active. It can also display the energy production from your system at that moment.

Based on your equipment, you may also be able to remotely monitor your solar electricity from an app or website. Ask your installer if this feature is available, and how to use it.

Step 7: Sit Back and Enjoy Your Solar Energy in Maryland

The moment you switch on your solar system, your panels will start powering appliances in your home. Finally, your journey of converting to solar power is complete, and you can now relax and enjoy the clean energy and electric bill savings that your solar panels bring you.

That’s not all, your solar power system also improves the value of your property, not to mention the tons of carbon emissions offset over its lifetime.

Find a Local Installer in Maryland

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), MD is home to around 100 installers.8 Having options is great, but it does mean you’ll need to do more research to find the best one for your purposes.

Choosing a solar installer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when you decide to convert to clean energy. Your system price, panel durability and longevity and the customer service you experience all hinge on the installer that handles your solar project.

Below, we’ll include links to some recommended installers in some of the larger cities in MD. This should help you get started in the right direction and begin the research process with only reputable vendors in mind.

Aerial view of Annapolis, MD
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Companies in Annapolis

MD State Rte 5 leading into Clinton
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Companies in Clinton

Town Center of Columbia, MD
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Companies in Columbia

Main Street in Ellicott City, MD
Credit: Jon Dawson / Flickr

Best Solar Companies in Ellicott City

A view looking into Towson, MD
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Companies in Towson

Overlooking the harbor in Baltimore, MD
Credit: Ken Lund / Flickr

Best Solar Companies in Baltimore

Main road leading into Carney, MD
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Companies in Carney

MD State Rte 755 leading into Edgewood
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Companies in Edgewood

Downtown area in Frederick, MD
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Companies in Frederick

Cedarville State Forest Pond, located in Waldorf, MD
Credit: WikiMedia

Best Solar Companies in Waldorf

For more general solar installer recommendations outside of these major cities, you can check out our state guide to the top solar providers in MD.

FAQ: Solar Panels in Maryland

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Article author
Aniket Bhor is a solar engineer who has spent nearly a decade studying and working in the solar power sector in the European, Asian and North American markets. He recieved his Master’s degree in Renewable Energies from Germany at Technische Fachhochschule Wildau. He has since worked in the industry in a variety of capacities including Solar Energy Consultant, Business Development Head, Solar Entrepreneurship Trainer, and more recently writing for solar organizations including Venuiti Solutions, Green Integrations, Solengy, Overall, he is a climate enthusiast and avid cyclist, and he also loves to lose himself in books and cooking.
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Expert reviewer
Kristina Zagame is a journalist, editor and content writer with expertise in solar and other energy-related topics. Before joining EcoWatch, Kristina was a TV news reporter and producer, covering a wide variety of topics including West Coast wildfires and hurricane relief efforts. Kristina’s reporting has taken her all over the U.S., as well as to Puerto Rico and Chile.

Comparing authorized solar partners

EcoWatch rating
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  • 5.0
    • Most efficient panels on the market
    • National coverage
    • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
    • Great warranty coverage
    • Expensive
    • Customer service varies by local dealer
    Best National Provider
    SunPower Panels
    25-year all-inclusive warranty

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