Maryland Solar Panel Buyers Guide (Installation & Efficiency 2022)

Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide to Maryland solar panels:

  • How to start the process of going solar in MD
  • How much electricity you can expect your panels to generate
  • Solar incentives available in MD that can help reduce your upfront and long-term costs
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How to Get Solar Panels in Maryland

When you’re ready to begin the process of converting to solar, you can start by reaching out to a local solar company for a free quote. A technician will likely need to inspect your roof and your property, as well as look at your recent electric bills to determine what size system you need.

If you will need to explore solar financing options, your solar company will help you do so at this point. You might need to look at solar loans, solar leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs), depending on your budget.

Once a system is designed to meet your energy needs and you have payment set up, your installation team will pull permits for the work and then install the panels, inverters and battery if you’ve chosen to have one. The system will be activated, and then you’ll just need a final inspection to close out the permits.

Going solar in MD is often a great investment. Not only does it help you reduce emissions and energy costs, but the average solar customer in the Free State also enjoys energy savings that cover the cost of the system and then save an additional $21,395.

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SunPower

Best National Provider

Nationwide Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

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

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer
Badge icon

Trinity Solar

Solar Veteran

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Many financing options
  • Family-owned and -operated
  • Makes charitable contributions

Cons

  • Limited service area
  • Relatively short workmanship warranty
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Lumina Solar

Outstanding Regional Installer

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

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

Cons

  • Relatively young company
  • Slightly limited service area

What Is the Price of Solar Panel Installation in Maryland?

The cost of a solar energy system in MD can fluctuate based on a bunch of factors, but most residents pay around $2.77 per watt. With the average home requiring a 10 kW system, that’s a typical total of around $19,390. Keep in mind that this is after taking into consideration the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC).

With the expected energy savings from producing your own energy, you can reasonably expect to pay for your system with those savings in around 12 years, which is right in line with the national average. After that point, you’ll continue to enjoy savings for the eight-plus years your system will continue to perform.

For more information on Maryland home solar system costs or for details on how you can get a better estimate for your particular system, you can check out our guide to solar pricing in MD.

The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in Maryland

The solar industry is well established in the Free State, so residents will have quite a few options when it comes to solar equipment brands. The brand you choose will have a significant impact on the cost of solar panels, the energy efficiency of your system and the durability and longevity.

Maryland receives around the average amount of sunlight, so high-efficiency panels aren’t a requirement like they are in some areas.

However, it’s best to select panels that can stand up to some abuse and come with a lengthy warranty. MD gets hit by tropical cyclones, hurricanes and a large number of thunderstorms each year, so having durable panels will provide some peace of mind during those weather events.1

Below is a brief list of some of the more popular panel brands solar customers install in MD:

  • SunPower
  • Tesla
  • LG (this company’s panels will soon no longer be available)
  • Panasonic
  • Silfab
  • REC
  • Canadian Solar
  • Trina Solar

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Is Maryland a Good State for Solar Panels?

Maryland is considered a great state for installing solar equipment and is currently ranked 17th in the nation for solar adoption.2 There are a few reasons why solar is often a sound investment in the area. These include:

  • Plenty of sunlight throughout the year: Photovoltaic (PV) equipment converts sunlight into usable electricity. Therefore, areas with an abundance of sunshine are better suited for solar conversion. Maryland receives an average of 202 sunny days per year, which is right in line with the national average of 205.3 This is plenty for most solar customers in the area to offset or significantly reduce their utility bills.
  • Outstanding solar incentives: Maryland has long been a proponent of solar and has numerous tax benefits and other perks available to residents to make solar more appealing. We’ll discuss these incentives in greater depth below. For now, it’s worth mentioning that MD has a state tax credit and a net metering program to help reduce up-front and long-term installation costs.

Maryland solar panels

  • Above-average energy needs: Marylanders use more energy than residents of most other states, with an average monthly consumption of 957 kilowatt-hours (kWh).4 Homeowners with greater energy needs benefit more from solar conversion, as they have more to save.
  • Power outages: Finally, Maryland residents often experience power outages, in large part because of the frequent extreme weather conditions in the area.5 For safety reasons, PV panels alone cannot provide power through a blackout. However, coupled with a solar battery, your solar system can maintain electricity for days or even weeks of blackout conditions.

How Much Energy Can I Get From Solar Panels in Maryland?

Solar electricity production fluctuates wildly throughout the day and the year. Panel efficiency is based on a few different factors that swing production up and down regularly. If you’re looking for an estimate for the system size you need to offset your consumption, you’ll need to have a local installer size the system for you.

Below are some of the things that can have a significant impact on how much power your system produces:

  • The panel brand you choose: Different panel brands come with different efficiency ratings, which is a measurement of how much of the available sunlight hitting them can be converted into solar electricity. If you put high-efficiency panels on your roof, you’ll generate more energy than lower-efficiency options, provided all other conditions are equal.
  • The orientation of your roof: Southern-facing roofs in the U.S. are the best equipped for solar because they face the path of the sun in the sky for most of the year. This means they receive the most direct sunlight and, therefore, will have the highest possible rate of energy production.
  • Shading on your roof: Shading on your roof at any time of the day will reduce your energy generation. This is especially true if the shading occurs during peak sunlight hours, usually in the afternoon.
  • The size of your system: The electricity production of your solar energy system is directly tied to how many panels you have installed on your home. The larger your system, the more energy it will produce, provided all other conditions are equal. Keep in mind that bigger systems aren’t always better, as there is a point where adding more panels is no longer cost-effective.
  • The weather conditions: Finally, the weather in your area at any given time will have a significant impact on solar system production. Clear, sunny days will lead to the highest level of production, while heavy cloud coverage can drop production by up to around 90%.

While all of these factors need to be considered to estimate your energy generation accurately, we can provide some average numbers based on typical conditions in MD. The chart below includes some production levels you can reasonably expect based on the size of the system.

Solar Power System Size (in kilowatts) Expected Daily Energy Generation Expected Monthly Energy Generation Expected Annual Energy Generation
7 kW 23.3 kWh 700 kWh 8,400 kWh
8 kW 26.6 kWh 800 kWh 9,600 kWh
9 kW 30 kWh 900 kWh 10,800 kWh
10 kW 33.3 kWh 1,000 kWh 12,000 kWh
11 kW 36.6 kWh 1,100 kWh 13,200 kWh
12 kW 40 kWh 1,200 kWh 14,400 kWh
13 kW 43.3 kWh 1,300 kWh 15,600 kWh

The best way to get accurate production estimates for your home is to have a solar installer design a system for your specific property. However, you can also use our solar calculator tool, which takes your location and property metrics into account to determine how much electricity your panels can generate.

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Solar Panel Policy History in Maryland

The laws and regulations in the State of Maryland have been pro-solar for several decades now, which helps the local solar industry expand and improve.

The pro-solar policy started in 1980 in the Free State, when it passed solar easements and rights laws. These laws don’t offer a financial incentive to solar customers, but they do protect their rights and ensure that all residents have unimpeded access to solar. This is true even for people living in homeowners associations (HOAs).

Nearly two decades later, in 1997, Maryland passed a law that mandated net metering, one of the most crucial measures for incentivizing solar conversion.

Net metering lets you generate more energy than you consume, and all excess energy is credited by your utility company. You can later use those credits to pay down electric bills if consumption ever outpaces production — like in the winter or on cloudy days.

Since 1997, MD has improved its net metering policy and added virtual net metering, which allows residents opting into community solar to enjoy similar benefits.

solar panels maryland
Credit: Kelly / Pexels

MD set its first Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal in 2004, which sought to have the state produce at least 7.5% of all of its electricity via renewable energy sources by 2019. While not the most ambitious RPS goal, this was later updated to be more aggressive and carve out requirements specifically for solar.

That same year, MD initiated the Residential Clean Energy Rebate Program. This is a rebate program that offers solar customers $1,000 back for PV systems under 20 kW, which includes most systems.

A few years later, in 2007, MD implemented the property tax exemption and the sales tax exemption for solar equipment.

The property tax exemption prevents the expected increase in taxes when you go solar. Installing solar equipment boosts your home value, which would normally increase your tax-assessed value. This is a great law that reduces the downside to going solar.

The sales tax exemption waives all sales tax on solar equipment, including:

  • Photovoltaic panels
  • Inverters
  • Solar batteries
  • Electric vehicle (EV) chargers
  • Solar hot water heaters
  • Other PV equipment

In 2008, the solar easements and rights laws were updated to provide additional protection for solar customers. At this point, the law ensured that all residents had the right to install solar and enjoy the solar energy accruing to their property.

A few years later, in 2015, MD began the Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC) market. Under this policy, all property owners with solar equipment installed would earn one SREC for every 1,000 kWh (1 megawatt-hour) of solar energy production. SRECs could then be sold on the local SREC market for cash.

Finally, in 2017, MD updated its Renewable Portfolio Standard goal to become more aggressive. The goal was set to produce at least 25% of the state’s electricity via clean energy sources by 2020. This update also came with a more appealing solar carve-out of 2.5%.

What Are the Solar Panel Incentives in Maryland?

Given the rich history of the solar policy in the Free State, it should come as no surprise that there are quite a few incentives available to MD solar customers. We’ll explain each of the perks available below.

  • Net metering: Net metering is mandated in MD and requires that all utility companies credit your account for all overproduction. You can use the energy generated this month to reduce next month’s bill. Credits roll over indefinitely, and they’re worth the retail amount.
  • Sales tax exemption: The sales tax exemption prevents you from having to pay sales tax on all of your solar equipment. In most cases, this saves a few hundred dollars.
  • Property tax exemption: Normally, home improvements that bump up your property value also bump your taxes. This exemption prevents that from happening when you go solar, even though it’s expected to raise your home value.6
  • SRECs: In MD, you earn one SREC for every 1,000 kilowatt-hours you generate with your PV equipment. You can then sell those credits for cash, which helps reduce the solar panel payback period and makes your solar panel system more valuable.
  • Residential Clean Energy Rebate Program: This is a rebate program available to all residential solar installations between one and 20 kW — which includes most solar arrays.
  • Maryland Energy Storage Income Tax Credit: This is a massive 30% tax credit on all solar energy storage solutions. Coupled with other tax credits, this significantly reduces the up-front cost to install solar equipment.
  • Federal solar tax credit: The federal tax credit is a credit to your income taxes owed. The amount you’re credited varies, as it’s 30% of your system price. For most MD residents, the ITC comes out to around $8,310.

There are some additional local solar incentives available as well, including:

  • The Anne Arundel County property tax credit
  • Montgomery County energy efficiency incentives
  • The Prince Georges County tax credit and
  • The Harford County property tax credit

For more in-depth information on local incentives and how all incentives work and apply to you, you can check out our article on Maryland solar incentives and benefits.

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Find a Local Installer in Maryland

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), MD is home to around 100 installers.7 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.

Blog author image
Dan Simms, Home Improvement Expert
Article author
Dan Simms is an experienced writer with a passion for renewable energy. As a solar and EV advocate, much of his work has focused on the potential of solar power and deregulated energy, but he also writes on related topics, like real estate and economics. In his free time — when he's not checking his own home's solar production — he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing and rock climbing.