Solar 101

Going Solar


Maryland, D.C. and Virginia all have renewable energy goals in place.  Maryland is currently aiming for 50% renewable energy mix by 2030; D.C. has a 100% goal by 2032; and Virginia is on track for 100% by 2045

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- SREC Program
- Commercial Clean Energy Grant Program
- Parking Lot Solar PV Canopy with EV Charger Grant Program
- REAP Grant
- Certain counties and cities throughout Maryland offer additional incentives and financing options (such as CLEER through Montgomery County’s Green Bank).

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- DC Sustainable Energy Utility Program
- Solar For All
- Strong SREC Program


- Virginia Property Tax Exemption for Solar Equipment
- Energy Efficient Buildings Tax Exemption
- Industrial Incentives
- REAP Grant

Definitions of federal incentive terms for solar installations



Businesses that install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are eligible to receive a tax credit in the amount of 26% of the total PV system cost. Unlike tax deductions, this tax credit can be used to directly offset your tax liability dollar for dollar. If your tax credit exceeds your tax liability you can roll the credit into future tax periods for 20 years.



Under the federal Modified Cost Recovery System (MACRS), businesses may recover investments in certain property through depreciation deductions. MACRS establishes a lifespan for various types of property over which the property may be depreciated. For PV systems, the taxable basis of the equipment must be reduced by 50% of any federal tax credits associated with the system.



SREC is a tradable and intangible certificate that represents proof of the generation of 1,000 kWh (1MWh) of solar power. These SREC certificates are valuable because many utilities must buy a certain number of them each year to meet sustainability requirements set by the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in each state.

ROI for Commercial Solar

Return on solar investment its dependent upon state, federal & sometimes location incentives.   The MD/DC/VA region fortunately has many different incentives that make solar an attractive option for a variety of different property types.  Aurora Energy has installed solar PV systems at a multitude of commercial properties:  car dealerships, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, warehouses, farms, apartment complexes to name a few.  More detail can be found in the solar incentives section.  Generally,  Aurora Energy customers are able to recoup at least 10% ROI on their PV systems within the first five years.  Some notable incentives to mention are the ITC (Investment Tax Credit), the Commercial Clean Energy Grant Program (MD), Parking Lot Solar PV Canopy with EV Charger Grant Program and the USDA REAP Grant

ROI for commercial solar
Reasons why organizations go solar

Organizations Going Solar

There are many reasons organizations decide go solar. Four typical reasons involve company image, corporate culture, sustainability goals and return on investment.  Some organizations pursue solar to make a statement about what they believe to be important, and clean energy is a visible statement that projects a company’s image of being a part of the clean energy transition currently happening across the globe.

Promoting a corporate culture of understanding our carbon emission crisis, and actively doing something about it engenders an overall environment of problem-solving global issues by contributing to the solution. 

Sustainability goals are a part of these organizational values that specify the actions organizations are able to take in order to make a positive impact with a tangible action plan. Energy efficiency, waste reduction and clean energy sourcing are some of the large impacts organizations can make once goals are identified.  

The financial benefits of solar are added benefits to an energy transition already in motion.  As prices for solar continue to drop and incentives continue to pay customers back in tax credits, rebates and pay outs, the return on investment for solar is all the more attractive.

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