In what some commentators are calling the first of its kind, Maryland’s legislature has passed a bill that would allow taxpayers to claim a state income tax credit equal to 30% of the installed cost of an energy storage system. The bill would cap the credit amount at $75,000 for a commercial installation or $5,000 for a residential application and would define “energy storage system” as any “system used to store electrical energy, or mechanical, chemical, or thermal energy that was once electrical energy, for use as electrical energy at a later date or in a process that offsets electricity use at peak times.” See Maryland S.B. 758. This means that more than just battery storage technologies will be eligible for the credit. The credit would not be refundable, so a taxpayer could not receive a refund check for any credit amount in excess of tax liability. Moreover, a taxpayer could not claim any unused credit amount on a previous or future year’s state income tax return.
To claim the credit, a taxpayer would have to apply for and receive a tax credit certificate from the Maryland Energy Administration, which would review applications on a first-come, first-served basis. The bill would authorize the issuance of tax credit certificates allowing up to only $750,000 in total credits each year. The bill will become law if signed by Governor Larry Hogan and would apply to systems installed on or after January 1, 2018, and before the end of 2022.
A Model for Other States to Follow?
Though relatively modest, Maryland’s income tax credit program could expand and serve as an important early model for incentives targeted at the growing energy storage industry. This is a potential trend to watch as states evaluate how best to spur improvement in their energy infrastructure. We will continue to follow this act and similar developments affecting the energy storage industry closely.