The opening of Maryland’s largest community solar project, dedicated to providing 54% of the power generated to the low-to-moderate income (LMI) community, was announced this week by Nautilus Solar Energy. Located in Kingsville, Maryland, the 1.8 MW project brings access to clean, solar energy to 293 Maryland homes, including 157 LMI residents within the Baltimore Gas & Electric Company (BGE) service territory.
“The opening of this community solar project is significant as it epitomizes Nautilus’s pledge to provide equitable, affordable access to community solar for all Marylanders,” said Jim Rice, co-Founder and co-CEO of Nautilus Solar. “We are grateful to the State of Maryland for leading the way by offering disadvantaged communities a choice to receive the economic and environmental benefits of locally-produced, clean energy.”
Qualified under the Maryland Community Solar Pilot Program, the community solar farm in Kingsville is one of twelve Nautilus projects with a dedicated 30-54% of capacity to LMI community. Nautilus received grant funding from the Maryland Energy Administration to offer LMI subscribers a guaranteed 25% discount on the community solar portion of their electric bill; all other customers are guaranteed to save 10% annually.
Dr. Mary Beth Tung, Director of the Maryland Energy Administration said, “MEA is deeply committed to ensuring that all residents and businesses, regardless of income, have access to the growing Clean Energy economy. Community solar is an ideal solution to provide real world savings by reducing the energy cost burden for low-to-moderate income Marylanders. I congratulate the Nautilus Solar team for implementing this project. This project is certainly a textbook example of government agencies working with commercial enterprises toward bettering the lives of all Marylanders.”
Community solar is unique in that it provides underserved residents the opportunity to subscribe to a Nautilus local solar project and save money without having to invest or install their own rooftop solar. Community solar has become the fastest growing segments of the solar market with over 1GW of installed capacity, enough to power about 140,000 households. Today, twenty states and the District of Columbia allow community solar programs, creating local jobs and spurring local economic investment.
“This project aligns perfectly with our mission to bring the benefit of solar to everyone, and not just the select few,” said Gary Skulnik, CEO of Neighborhood Sun whose company is responsible for ongoing customer management of the project. “Working with the Nautilus team, we were able to reach underserved communities and groups in the Baltimore area and provide them with significant savings while cleaning up the local air.”
The community solar project was developed by Power52 Energy Solutions a renewable energy job placement and career training organization for at-risk adults, returning citizens, and underserved individuals in Baltimore City, pursuant to BGE’s community solar pilot program approved by the State. Nautilus will serve as the owner-operator responsible for the project management, long-term asset management, and maintenance services for the project.