Summit Ridge Energy to develop six rooftop community solar projects in Maryland

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Commercial solar and energy storage company Summit Ridge Energy celebrated the construction of six rooftop community solar projects in Maryland, totaling over 17 MW.

The projects are part of the Maryland Community Solar program – an effort to provide local residents with low-cost, renewable energy – and are expected to generate over 25 million kWh of power annually. They will be sited on the rooftops of industrial assets owned by LBA Logistics, a real estate investment and management firm. 

The first project is expected to come online in the third quarter of this year, according to Summit Ridge Energy. The projects are all rooftop solar, and no trackers were used, Leslie Elder, Summit Ridge Energy’s vice president of political and regulatory affairs, told pv magazine USA. While they won’t be paired with energy storage at this time, “as the Maryland market evolves to incentivize storage, we will be very excited to consider adding storage to these systems,” Elder added. 

Summit Ridge Energy – along with LBA Logistics and commercial buyer’s representative Black Bear Energy, which facilitated the collaboration between the two companies – held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Rosedale, Maryland.

The company has also expanded a partnership with HASI, a climate solutions investor, to build and operate a 250 MW community solar portfolio. The two companies entered a joint venture in 2019, and this transaction doubles the size of that. Under the new agreement, HASI will help finance Summit Ridge’s pipeline of community solar projects in Illinois and Maryland over the next two years. Summit Ridge estimates that this portfolio of projects will help avoid more than 51,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

“Our programmatic, client-centric approach delivers long-term value to our partners, and we look forward to supporting the rapid growth of Summit Ridge Energy’s solar pipeline,” said Susan Nickey, chief client officer at HASI. 

Summit Ridge Energy,  launched in 2017, has a development pipeline of more than 2 GW and has deployed over $1.6 billion into clean energy assets over the last six years. The company expects to have more than 400 MW of PV online by the end of this year. 

Community solar could play a key role in the energy transition. Three out of four Americans want to switch to solar, but rooftop solar panels aren’t an option for many residents, either because they live in apartment buildings, are tenants, have shaded roofs, or don’t qualify to finance them, noted Elder. 

“Community solar is solving this issue. Community solar programs allow customers to ”subscribe” to local solar farms and receive the benefits from solar generation. Customers are matched with a local energy project, lowering their utility bills and guaranteeing that more clean energy is generated locally,” said Elder. 

But while community solar is growing rapidly – Wood Mackenzie has forecasted existing markets will grow by an annual average of 8% with nearly 14 GW of cumulative capacity expected by 2028 – not all states are on board yet, Elder said. 

“The US Department of Energy cites a lack of supportive policy and interconnection issues as key barriers,” Elder added. 

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