Solar Energy Financial Incentives
Howard County MD

Howard County - Residential Solar and Property Tax Credit


Federdal : 30 %
State: Up to $ 10,000
Howard County: $ 5,000

Incentive Type: Maryland Solar Energy Grant
Eligible Renewable Solar Water Heat, Solar Thermal Process Heat, Photovoltaics
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Residential, Nonprofit, Local Government
Incentive Amount: Solar PV: $2.50/watt DC
Solar Water Heating: 30% of the installed cost
Maximum Incentive: Solar PV: $10,000
Solar Water Heating: $3,000
Eligible System Size: Solar PV maximum: 20 kW;
Minimum sizes for both solar water heating and solar PV vary by sector.
Equipment Requirements: Solar PV systems must meet applicable UL, IEEE, and NEC standards; solar thermal collectors must be SRCC OG-100 certified.
Installation Requirements: On-grid and off-grid PV systems are eligible; 70% of the annual solar path’s area must be shade-free throughout the year.
Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits: Remains with project owner
Funding Source: General Revenue Funds (appropriated annually); FY 2009 funds to be supplemented with RGGI proceeds
Expiration Date Appropriated FY 2009 funding exhausted; program is expected to receive supplemental RGGI funding to continue grants through June 30, 2009
Project Review/Certification MEA may inspect completed installations prior to final grant approval.
Authority 1: MD STATE-GOVT §9–2007
Date Enacted: 04/27/2004
Effective Date: 01/01/2005
Authority 2: H.B. 377
Date Enacted: 04/24/2008
Effective Date: 07/01/2008

  Note: Due to the high level interest in this program, funding for this program has been exhausted for the current fiscal year. A waiting list has been created for projects that the Maryland Energy Administration intends to fund by June 30, 2009 using proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Applications received after November 30, 2008 will be put on a separate waiting list for FY 2010 funding. Program rule and incentive level changes scheduled for Spring 2009 will likely result in FY 2010 terms different than those described below. The current waiting list can be accessed at the program website listed at the top of this page.  
Maryland's Solar Energy Grant Program, administered by the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA), provides financial incentives to homeowners, businesses, local governments and non-profit organizations that install solar water-heating systems or solar-electric (PV) systems. Both grid-connected and off-grid PV systems are eligible for support. This program, which took effect in January 2005, replaced the state's expired "Clean Energy Incentives" tax credit for solar-energy equipment. The first three rounds of program funding supported 227 projects and applications continue to be accepted at this time.  
The Solar Energy Grant Program provides incentives as follows*:
  • The lesser of $3,000 or 30% of the cost for solar water heating equipment;  
  • $2,500 per kilowatt (kW) up to $10,000 for solar PV systems.
The maximum size for solar PV systems is 20 kW. Requirements for the minimum size of a system eligible for funding follow the same guidelines as the U.S. Department of Energy's Million Solar Roofs Initiative. They are as follows:
  • Solar water-heating systems for residential, school or public buildings: 20 square feet of collector area (or 1 kW equivalent)  
  • Commercial solar water-heating systems: 40 square feet of collector area (or 2 kW equivalent)
  • Residential photovoltaic system: 500 watts (0.5 kW); on and off-grid systems are eligible  
  • School, government and church solar-electric systems: 1 kW  
  • Commercial photovoltaic systems: 2 kW
Solar water-heating collectors must meet the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation's (SRCC) OG-100 Certification.  
PV system hardware must be in compliance with all applicable performance and safety standards, including: Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 1741, "Standard for Static Inverters and Charge Controllers for Use in Photovoltaic Systems" and UL 1703, "Standard for Safety: Flat-Plate Photovoltaic Modules and Panels." The system must be installed in compliance with applicable requirements of local electric codes and the National Electric Code (NEC). Utility interconnected (grid-tied) systems must be installed in compliance with IEEE Standard 929-2000, "Recommended Practice for Utility Interface of Photovoltaic Systems."  
For an application and more information on the program, including a Q&A section, see the program web site.  
Note that these grants may be subtracted from adjusted gross income for state income tax purposes. In other words, program recipients do not have to pay state taxes on the amount of the grant received. See House Bill 590, enacted in May 2007.  
*H.B. 377 also allows program managers to adjust grant amounts to reflect market conditions and prices, subject to the limitations described above.

  Public Information Officer
Maryland Energy Administration
1623 Forest Drive, Suite 300
Annapolis, MD 21403
Phone: (800) 723-6374
Phone 2: (410) 260-7655
Web site:

Howard County Property Tax Exemption

Incentive Type: Howard County Property Tax Exemption
Eligible Renewable Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics
Applicable Sectors: Residential, Multi-Family Residential, Low-Income Residential
Amount: 50% of eligible costs;
Max. Limit: $5,000 for a PV or heating system; $1,500 for a hot water supply system
Terms: Credit may not exceed resident's property tax liability and may be carried forward for 2 years
Authority 1: Howard County Code 20-128A
Date Enacted: 10/05/2006
Effective Date: 07/01/2007

  In accordance with Maryland Property Tax Code § 9-203, Howard County allows a property tax credit for certain renewable energy devices. Real property owners may receive a property tax credit against the county property tax imposed on a residential structure that uses a solar or geothermal energy device. The amount of the tax credit is 50% of the eligible costs up to $5,000 for a photovoltaic (PV) or heating system (geothermal or solar), and $1,500 for a hot water supply system. All equipment must meet safety and performance standards set by a nationally recognized laboratory for that kind of device.  
The amount of credit applied in a tax year may not exceed the amount of property tax imposed for that year, but any amount not taken may be carried over for an additional two years. During a fiscal year, the total amount of all tax credits granted in the county is limited to $250,000. Eligible applicants should submit their applications on or before April 1 prior to the taxable year for which the credit is sought. Work must be completed in the 12 months prior to an application in order to be eligible for the tax credit. The program webpage listed at the top of this page contains the application for the credit.  
This local option tax incentive is unique because it is applied in the form of a credit -- not an exemption or exclusion, as in the case of most other property tax programs.  

  Michelle Harrod
Howard County Goverment
Real Property Taxes
3430 Courthouse Drive
Ellicott City , MD 21043
Phone: (410) 313-4075
Web site:
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