Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley recently signed into law the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard for Solar Energy and Solar Water Heating Systems bill (Senate Bill 791 and House Bill 1187), which accelerates the target date for achieving the state's renewable portfolio standard two-percent solar carve-out by two years and ensures the industry maintains positive, year-over-year job growth. This bill will create 10,000 new local jobs between now and 2018, with a strong concentration in an industry that needs jobs the most — the construction market. The legislation is designed to keep the local industry from experiencing the cycles of boom and bust that have hurt sustained growth in neighboring states.

“This is an important victory for Maryland's quickly emerging solar energy market,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “The state's RPS policy has worked. We've seen a dramatic decline in the cost of solar energy, rapid job growth and tens of millions of dollars in economic expansion. But a potential market distortion would dramatically constrain growth of solar in Maryland.

“With passage of this bill, the state's solar market will grow in an economically sustainable way that protects consumers while continuing to create jobs and new investment. We thank Delegate Sally Jameson and Senator Rob Garagiola for their leadership in moving this bill across the finish line, as well as members of House Economic Matters and Senate Finance Committees.”