The Maryland Energy Office wants to find out how well solar energy systems are working in the state, and is looking for people who have purchased solar energy systems for their homes or businesses.
The survey is to be conducted for the state by the Maryland, D.C., Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association. The association already knows of nearly 1,000 solar systems across the state, but it is thought that thousands more systems may be out there.
The survey is to help document what factors motivate people to install solar energy systems as well as how the systems are working and how much energy they save. The state also wants to find out which systems have failed to work, and why.
"Nobody disputes that it can work," said Scott Layne, supervisor of the state's Energy Office. "But there is a lack of evidence, specific to this area, about people's experience with solar energy, how much they've paid, and whether they think it's a good deal."
The data are be used to help guide future decisions about the installation of solar systems on public buildings and are to be published to help guide property owners in their decisions about solar energy.
"There have been a lot of bad experiences here and there, but there also have been a lot of good experiences here and there," Layne said.
The survey is being paid for with money received by the state from the Petroleum Violation Escrow Fund, paid to the state by Exxon in accordance with a court order redressing overcharges by the company during the 1970s.
Marylanders willing to participate in the survey should send their names, addresses and telephone numbers to the Solar Energy Survey, Maryland Energy Office, 45 Calvert St., Annapolis 21401.