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3 counties lead the way for solar growth in Maryland

Maryland is surrounded by some of the nation's leading state's in the solar power industry, such as New York and Massachusetts. The state has shown an increase in commitment to encouraging solar in Maryland over recent months, moving up the ranks to a spot among its solar efficient neighbors.

Governor Martin O'Malley implemented the state initiative that requires at least 20 percent of Maryland's electricity to be generated from clean energy sources by 2022, according to the Maryland Energy Administration. The state's Renewable Portfolio Standard has pushed counties and municipals to invest in their own renewable energy projects.

It only took four years following the new RPS requirements for Maryland's Washington, Worcester and Wicomico counties to thrive in solar power growth. The extremely affordable cost of solar has driven most municipals to make the switch since budgetary limits are tight throughout the region, reports DelmarvaNow.

Wicomico County
Wicomico County is currently one of the state's most successful communities in promoting solar power. The County Council is in the process of considering a proposal for an 11,000 solar panel project that is reportedly expected to cut residents' electricity bills in half, saving approximately $162,000 each year, according to DelmarvaNow.

The project, proposed in August by Public Works Director Lee Beauchamp, is a two-site project that is expected to be capable of generating all of the county's power once completed. The County Administrator Wayne Strausburg commented on the significant impact that this clean, cost efficient energy source would have on the community.  

He said, "We're trying to get ahead of the curve so that we can sustain our energy needs at much lower costs long-term, but also in a more environmentally friendly way. It's critically important from a financial standpoint. We aren't being diligent if we're relying on old technology to carry us in the future," according to the news source. 

Worcester County
Worcester County, Pocomoke City is also set to begin a solar project similar to Wicomico's initiative. It includes nearly 6,300 solar panels expected to generate a daily 2.1 megawatts of electricity. It's also expected to provide all of the city's home and business owners with their electricity, according to the City Manager Russell Blake, saving Pocomoke $40,000 in energy expenses.

Blake also said that, due to the fact that there's no need for any up​-font financing, the city officials saw it as a "win-win for the city," reports DelmarvaNow..  

Washington County
Although the projects in Wicomico and Worcester County are some of the state's largest efforts to increase the use of solar power, Washington County is currently Maryland's leader in solar power production, according to Herald Mail Media. Officials of the MEA recently reported that as of August 4, the county has a solar capacity of 33.8 megawatts, accounting for 18 percent of the state's total 184 MW capacity.

Tony Valente, a renewable-energy professor at Hagerstown Community, said that the number homeowners and municipals investing in solar power systems in the county has grown from only a few in 2009 to over 50 today. 

Therefore, with so many of the state's counties working diligently to reduce their carbon footprint and save money, solar power is set to become a leading energy source throughout Maryland.

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