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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard   

Last DSIRE Review: 04/17/2013
Program Overview:
State: Maryland
Incentive Type: Renewables Portfolio Standard
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Municipal Solid Waste, Anaerobic Digestion, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Ocean Thermal, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels, Geothermal Direct-Use
Applicable Sectors: Municipal Utility, Investor-Owned Utility, Rural Electric Cooperative, Retail Supplier
Standard:20% by 2022
Technology Minimum:Solar: 2% by 2020
Offshore Wind: TBD, 2.5% maximum beginning in 2017
Credit Trading:Yes (PJM-GATS)
Credit Transfers Accepted From:MIRECS into PJM-GATS
(Refers to tracking system compatibility only, not RPS eligibility. Please see statutes and regulations for information on facility eligibility)
Credit Transfers Accepted To:PJM-GATS into MIRECS
(Refers to tracking system compatibility only, not RPS eligibility. Please see statutes and regulations for information on facility eligibility)
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
Md. Public Utility Companies Code ยง 7-701 et seq.
05/26/2004 (subsequently amended)
Authority 2:
Date Effective:
COMAR 20.61.01 et seq.
09/20/2010 (most recent revision)
Authority 3:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
H.B. 226

Eligible technologies:

Maryland's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, enacted in May 2004 and revised numerous times since, requires electricity suppliers (all utilities and competitive retail suppliers) to use renewable energy sources to generate a minimum portion of their retail sales. Beginning in 2006, electricity suppliers were required to provide 1% of retail electricity sales in the state from Tier 1 renewables  and 2.5% from Tier 2 renewables. Tier 1 renewables include solar, wind, biomass, anaerobic decomposition, geothermal, ocean, fuel cells powered through renewables, small hydro, poultry-litter incineration facilities, waste-to-energy facilities. Tier 2 renewables include hydroelectric power other than pump-storage generation. The renewables requirement increases gradually, ultimately reaching a level of 20% from Tier 1 resources in 2022 and beyond, and 2.5% from Tier 2 resources from 2006 through 2018. The Tier 2 requirement eventually sunsets, dropping to 0% in 2019 and beyond.


A solar carve-out was established in 2007, and currently requires that a total of 2% of retail electricity sales come from solar resources by 2020. In 2013 the state established an offshore wind carve-out of up to 2.5% beginning in 2017, with the actual annual requirements to be established by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) subject to the 2.5% limitation. Both the solar carve-out and the offshore wind carve-out are part of the overall Tier 1 requirement, thus they have the effect of reducing the requirements for other Tier 1 resources.

In April 2013 Maryland enacted legislation (H.B. 226) creating a resource carve-out for offshore wind facilities. The carve-out is stated as a maximum percentage of 2.5% of retail electricity sales in 2017 and beyond, with the actual requirements to be determined by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) subject to the 2.5% limitation. The definition of a qualifying offshore wind facility is limited to facilities located on the outer continental shelf between 10 and 30 miles off the cost of Maryland in a U.S. Department of Interior designated leasing zone. Facilities must connect to PJM Interconnection at a point on the Delmarva Peninsula and are subject to PSC approval.


Electricity suppliers demonstrate compliance with the standard by accumulating renewable energy credits (RECs) equivalent to the required percentages outlined below:



Other Tier I

Tier II





































































 A REC has a three-year life during which it may be transferred, sold, or otherwise redeemed. In other words, a REC may be used for compliance during the year of generation and the following two calendar years. Formerly, RECs generated within the PJM region, in states adjacent to the PJM, or delivered into the PJM were eligible to be counted towards RPS compliance. However, this provision was amended in 2008 by H.B. 375 to remove PJM-adjacent states from the geographic eligibility list, effective beginning in 2011.

Each electricity supplier must submit a report to the Public Service Commission annually that demonstrates compliance with the RPS. An electricity supplier that fails to meet the standard must pay into the Maryland Strategic Energy Investment Fund (SEIF). The alternative compliance fee schedule, as amended by S.B. 277 in May 2010, is as follows:

  • 4.0¢/kWh for non-solar Tier 1 shortfalls (increased from to 2.0¢/kWh by H.B. 375 of 2008, effective beginning in 2011);
  • 1.5¢/kWh for Tier 2 shortfalls;
  • 45¢/kWh for solar shortfalls in 2008, 40¢/kWh in 2009 through 2014, 35¢/kWh in 2015 and 2016, 20¢/kWh in 2017 and 2018 and continuing to decline by 5¢ bi-annually until it reaches 5¢/kWh in 2023 and beyond; and
  • 0.8¢/kWh for Tier 1 shortfalls for industrial process load in 2006-2008, declining incrementally to 0.2¢/kWh in 2017 and later; no fee for Tier 2 shortfalls for industrial process load.

Compliance fees paid into the SEIF, which is administered by the Maryland Energy Administration, will be used to fund grant and loan programs for Tier 1 renewable energy resources. Compliance fees for the solar obligation may only be used to support new solar resources in the state. The SEIF replaces the Maryland Renewable Energy Fund, which was repealed by H.B. 368 in 2008. The PSC is required to submit annual reports (see 2011 RPS Report) to the state legislature detailing utility compliance with the standard.

Credit Multipliers:
Initially, the RPS included credit multipliers for wind, solar, and methane. The multiplier for solar was replaced by the 2% solar requirement in 2007. Multipliers for wind and methane remained for facilities placed in service on or after January 1, 2004, although both have subsequently expired.

Maryland's RPS was originally enacted in 2004, but has been revised on numerous occasions since that time. The 2004 enactment established a standard of 7.5% Tier 1 renewables by 2019 and 2.5% Tier 2 renewables by 2018 (sunsetting in 2019). Legislation enacted in April 2007 (S.B. 595) added a provision requiring electricity suppliers to derive 2% of electricity sales from solar energy in addition to the 7.5% renewables derived from other Tier 1 resources as outlined in the initial RPS law. The solar set-aside began at 0.005% of retail sales in 2008 and increases incrementally each year to reach 2% by 2020. The set-aside is projected to result in the development of more than 1,250 MW of solar capacity by 2020. In April 2008 H.B. 375 more than doubled the overall Tier 1 requirement and accelerated the compliance schedule. The Tier 2 and solar requirements were left unchanged at this time, but in May 2010 S.B. 277 accelerated the solar compliance schedule and increased solar alternative compliance payment levels for 2011 through 2016. Finally, Maryland enacted S.B. 717 allowing solar water heating systems commissioned on or after June 1, 2011 to qualify as eligible resources for the solar carve-out, effective January 1, 2012. In order to qualify for the standard solar water heating systems must: be commissioned on or after June 1, 2011; not be used soley to heat a pool or a hot tub; and use SRCC OG-100 certified equipment.

Also in May 2011, Maryland enacted S.B. 690 reclassifying waste-to-energy facilities connected to the Maryland distribution grid as Tier 1 resources. Formerly, all waste-to-energy facilities were considered Tier 2 facilities. The legislation also classifies facilities connected to the Maryland distribution grid that use refuse-derived fuel (formerly not specifically addressed) as Tier 1 resources, effective October 1, 2011.In May 2012 Maryland enacted a suite of bills affecting the RPS. The most significant bill, S.B. 791/H.B. 1187, accelerates the solar carve-out compliance requirements by varying degrees beginning in 2013; pushes up the date for the ultimate 2% target from 2022 to 2020; and allows solar water heating energy production measurements for some systems to be estimated under a certification system other than SRCC OG-300 (subject to Public Service Commission approval). The changes also have the effect of reducing the minimum Tier I resource requirements from 2013 - 2021.

Apart from solar-related changes, in 2012 Maryland also enacted S.B. 652/H.B. 1186 allowing geothermal heating and cooling systems commissioned on or after January 1, 2013 that meet certain standards to qualify as a Tier I resource. Finally, in May 2012 the legislature also enacted S.B. 1004/H.B. 1339 allowing thermal energy associated with biomass systems that primarily use animal waste (possibly supplemented by other biomass resources) to qualify as Tier I resources, effective January 1, 2013.



  RPS Program
Maryland Public Service Commission
6 St. Paul Street
17th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: (410) 767-8059
Fax: (410) 333-6495
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.