Solar-powered homeowners in Maryland have been noticing that their SRECs are not performing as well as they had been. We believe an explanation is needed as we know this isn’t just happening to our customers but to a lot of solar-powered homeowners throughout Maryland. This is an actual quote from one of our customers, “I feel the company that is selling my excess solar watts (SREC broker, Sol Systems), is ripping us off. Is there another brokerage company I can go to?” Unfortunately, we had to tell him that switching to another SREC broker will not make any difference. Here’s why…
For those who are not SREC savvy, in Maryland, if you own your solar panel system it can actually help you generate income through what’s known as Solar Renewable Energy Certificates or Credits (SRECs). Under Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, you can earn SRECs for a certain number of kilowatt-hours your solar panels produce. You can sell your SRECs to traders or directly to utility companies, which purchase SRECs to help them meet their solar energy quotas. In this way, the SREC Market is similar to the stock market but Maryland’s SREC market has not been subjected to Wall Street-like volatility and has proven to be stable since its inception in 2008 … until very recently. The SCREC market was starting to slow down and the veto of the Renewable Portfolio Standard bill which would have increased solar profitability for homeowners who run their homes on solar has helped make things look worse for it.
SREC Market will make a triumphant come back!
The bill had wide bipartisan support. The Maryland Climate Coalition had this to say about the veto, “We are disappointed in the Governor’s decision to veto this widely-supported bill that would have meant cleaner air and thousands of new, family-supporting jobs in Maryland.” In early 2017 Hogan’s veto will be overridden by Maryland’s legislature. “Luckily, the bill passed the General Assembly with veto-proof margins. We will be back in the 2017 session to override his veto and enact the Clean Energy Jobs Act.”
RECENT UPDATE! On Jan. 31, 2017, the Maryland house voted to override the veto. Now we are just waiting for the Maryland Senate to also override the veto. Once the Governor’s veto is overridden, SREC prices should begin to rebound significantly – and may actually be valued higher than before the veto.
Absolutely not. Because of inspections, utility paperwork etc, it can take 4-8 weeks for a solar system to be installed once you sign a contract. So, if you purchase your system soon it is likely the SREC market will be better than back to normal by the time your system is installed and up and running.
If you do not want to pay cash or get a loan so you can own the system but are still interested in going solar, you can get your solar panels and installation for $0 with a Solar PPA (Power Purchase Agreement).
With a PPA you literally pay nothing for solar panels and installation and lock in a fixed electricity rate at least 20% lower than utility. The SREC market has little effect on persons who go solar with a PPA because like a lease, even though the homeowner is guaranteed to save money on utility bills, profit-making is not an option because the homeowner does not own the panels so cannot sell the SRECs. So, if you are considering a PPA it makes no sense to wait for the SREC value to rebound.
By Laureen Peck, Vice President of Marketing, Solar Energy World