Balto. Co. Council OKs changes to solar panel rules

Balto. Co. Council approves changes to solar panel rules for homeowners.

The Baltimore County Council on Monday approved a technical change to its rules for solar panels that will allow homeowners to put more panels on their rooftops.

The change will allow residents to put some of their solar panels closer to the edge of the roof and was pushed by companies that install solar panels. The change is sponsored by Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and all seven council members.

It's the second change to solar panel rules made by the county. Last month, the council increased the cap for how much the county can give out each year in tax credits to homeowners who go solar, from $250,000 to $750,000, in hopes of erasing a multi-year wait list to get the credit.

Homeowner Jeff Clopein of Catonsville praised the changes. He installed 14 solar panels in 2012 and thinks he could have fit in four or five more panels under the new rules.

Clopein said neither the county nor the solar companies were up front about having to wait for the credit, which he expects will be worth $5,000.

"There was nothing anywhere when I did my research that Baltimore County had a long waiting list," he said.

The Baltimore Sun reported in January that Baltimore County lagged behind other suburban counties in residential rooftop solar systems. Solar panel companies attributed that to cumbersome rules, uneven inspections and the wait list for tax credits in the county.

pwood@baltsun.com

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