Maryland Condo Act Undergoes Change to Make it Easier For Condo Associations to Approve Leases for Clean Energy Equipment

New legislation (Bill HB 0216), sponsored by Maryland State Delegate, Lorig Charkoudian, Ph.D., and Maryland State Senator, William C. Smith Jr., has been passed and introduces new amendments to the Maryland Condo Act. Under the Maryland Condo Act, Bill HB 0216 will allow condominium board of directors to grant leases of more than one year for the installation and use of leased clean energy equipment. This new legislation will make it easier for condo associations in Maryland to approve leases for clean energy equipment, such as electric vehicle recharging equipment, solar energy equipment, and energy storage systems.

Previously, the Maryland Condo Act required a 66.6% vote of unit owners and mortgage holders in favor of the lease. However, Bill HB 0216 reduces this requirement and allows the condo board of directors to grant such leases by a majority vote and reduces the wait time of notifying unit owners of the proposed vote from 60 days to 30 days. The new legislation streamlines the approval process by ensuring that the project timeline moves along at a faster pace, benefiting both condo owners and the environment.

Brian Haaser, Glen Manor Condos, Bill Advocate says, “It was the work of multiple condominium owners, renewable energy groups and the Green Bank! We are all excited about this change to help common ownership communities meet their benchmarking goals and decarbonize their buildings.”

The Montgomery County Green Bank offers commercial solar financing through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), which is an easier way for condo associations to lease a solar system without making up-front payments. Prior to Bill HB 0216, condo associations would often face challenges in following an approval process that was not designed for leases like PPAs. The new legislation addresses this issue by enabling condos to follow traditional association leasehold approval processes, making it easier for them to benefit from clean energy investments.

“The Green Bank strongly supports distributed renewable energy investments and believes that condos are an important market to serve. PPAs offer a valuable tool for condos to quickly experience operational savings, which can help prevent fee increases and special assessments,” says Montgomery County Green Bank CEO, Stephen Morel. “We are especially thankful for Delegate Lorig Charkoudian for her leadership on this legislation.”

PPAs are particularly attractive to nonprofit organizations, condo associations, and other entities that desire the operational savings delivered by clean energy but lack the upfront capital or capacity to own and operate a system. This is particularly important for predominantly low- to moderate-income communities, where every dollar saved makes a significant difference. By enabling condos to approve PPAs in a more expedient fashion, Maryland can demonstrate strong environmental and economic benefits.

Tom Deyo, former CEO of the Montgomery County Green Bank, states, “I applaud the state for taking action to allow condos to more easily place solar on their properties. This will allow thousands of families to get the benefits of renewable energy while directly participating in addressing climate change.” Tom was a strong advocate for the new changes to the bill.

The revisions brought about by HB 0216 to the Maryland Condo Act will significantly benefit condo associations by enhancing their ability to approve leases for clean energy equipment. By reducing the approval requirements and streamlining the process, condo owners will have greater access to clean energy solutions such as solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations. This not only benefits individual condo owners but also contributes to Maryland’s efforts in promoting renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions.

Information courtesy of the Montgomery County Green Bank

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