Solar Panel Cost in Maryland (2023 Local Savings Guide)
By Dan Simms /
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.
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)
Maryland’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.
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|
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:
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.
Once you have decided that solar power is a good fit for you, it is time to start looking for solar providers.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
When finalizing an installer, make sure you hit the right balance of low cost and long warranties.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maryland Real Property Code §2–119 prevents homeowners associations in Maryland from restricting homeowners from installing solar projects.
Maryland’s aggressive solar policies and proven savings of thousands of dollars over a system’s life make it worth going solar in the state.
Modern solar panels are designed to perform for at least 25 years. Residents of Maryland can rest assured that their system can save them money for 25 or more years.
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