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SEIA and Standard Solar host Maryland legislators at community solar project

Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 10th September

Commercial and community solar developer Standard Solar and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) hosted U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and other government and industry leaders for a site visit and guided tour of the Shepherds Mill Community Solar Project in Union Bridge, Maryland.

Credit: Standard Solar

“Community solar projects like Shepherds Mill, with their ability to impact significant segments of the population through job creation and the lowering of their carbon footprint, have become more and more important over the years,” said Rick Berube, COO of Standard Solar. “In this time when our federal government is working to pass groundbreaking legislation that will strengthen solar policies and grow a clean energy economy, renewable energy assets that bring solar to people who might not otherwise have access to it are vital.”

Standard Solar funded the community solar farm and is the project’s long-term owner and operator. OGOS and Earth and Air Technologies developed it and subscriptions are managed by Neighborhood Sun Benefit Company.

“We need even more smart and focused investments in our infrastructure that respond to real needs and reap broad benefits for our workers, businesses and the public at large. Strategic development of solar electricity production can help meet electricity demands and combat climate change — an imperative we must immediately confront,” Sen. Cardin said, who is chair of the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “I appreciated the opportunity to see cutting-edge technology at work at the Standard Solar facility in Union Bridge and applaud the company’s role in helping to power Maryland’s electricity grid and innovation economy.”

The Shepherds Mill Community Solar Project is a 2.8 MW ground-mount solar array with 7,182 solar modules located on approximately 11 acres of land.

“Investing in renewable energy sources like solar will not only help us tackle the threats of climate change but will also create clean energy jobs and boost Maryland’s economy,” Sen. Van Hollen said.

A number of renewable energy policy initiatives are being considered as part of the historic Build Back Better infrastructure package such as expanded funding for permitting, a long-term extension of the solar ITC with an option for direct pay, increased job training and investments in grid modernization.

Shepherds Mill received grant funding from the Maryland Energy Administration’s FY20 Community Solar low-to-middle-income power purchase agreement Incentive Grant Program (LMI-PPA Program) designed to extend the benefits of community solar projects to members of the LMI community. LMI subscribers are guaranteed additional discounts on the community solar portion of their electric bill. All other residential customers are guaranteed to save 10% annually by switching to community solar power.

“As we advocate for transformative solar and climate policy in [D.C.], it’s important that we are intentional and build a clean energy economy that uplifts every community with quality jobs, local investment, and cleaner, more reliable electricity,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA). “The economic, health and resiliency benefits of solar energy have to be made accessible to all Americans, and we’re urging Congress to make sure that happens in the infrastructure legislation.”

News item from Standard Solar