Switching to solar energy typically comes with the cost of installing panels and any upkeep required to keep them running. A local community solar business in Maryland is looking to reduce those costs and make solar energy accessible to all with a new program. That’s the aim of Frederick.energy, an energy cost consulting firm run by Maxwell Neely.
Neely works as an independent contractor for Common Energy and is using his expertise to bring no-cost solar energy to low- to middle-income households. Understanding the cost behind installing solar panels, Neely’s community solar business will provide an easier solution that ultimately benefits the homeowner in more ways than one.
According to Neely, he started the program through Frederick.energy to educate the public on solar alternatives. He explains that the solar option he’s offering does not require an at-home installation and is instead filtered from an offsite solar farm.
Frederick.energy will draw power from Common Energy’s three Maryland solar farms in Hancock, Elkton, and Bowie. These farms serve BGE, Delmarva, and Potomac Edison customers and can provide enough power to power more than 100 homes.
The process laid out by Neely starts with the service provider, which buys solar power from one of Maryland’s farms. This is then filtered out to the customers. In return for the purchase of power, the state provides the customer with a credit equal to their power bill. Of that credit, customers get to keep 10% while 90% goes to Frederick.energy. For low-income households, they can keep up to 25%. Based on the average power bill in Maryland, that’s a savings of anywhere from $5 to $20 per month.
The community solar program extends to renters and businesses, as well. After seeing a successful launch, Neely hopes to take the business into Chicago and New York to expand his market reach. Until he can do that, he’s spending his time servicing Maryland and educating consumers on the benefits of community solar.