Look out any window more than a few stories high in Baltimore. Can you spot a vast untapped energy supply? Those stretches of mostly flat rooftops rolling out before your eyes are fallow ground for wind and solar farms!
Recently we started to bring farming back to the city through programs like School Farm and hundreds of community gardens. Now we can expand from produce to energy! Day after day, year after year, immense idle spaces sit in the sun and wind, squandering opportunities to reduce our energy bills and pollution.
Baltimore is blessed with roofs. Long commercial and industrial buildings, public buildings such as schools and offices, and even our iconic row homes sit waiting, block after block of roofs ready to be tapped.
How much energy could Baltimore city produce? Let’s do rough estimates on harvesting the energy potential of just 10% of the City’s 52,000 acres. These 5,200 acres of roof tops could produce enough energy for about 90,000 homes! Baltimore could be come a major energy supplier for the state.
Baltimore’s roofs can serve as a huge source of alternative energy in Maryland. Let’s take advantage of this resource sitting over our heads to generate cash for neighborhoods, local governments, and businesses. Our rooftop energy supply will reduce or even eliminate energy bills and could actually generate funds through selling extra power back to the energy grid.
How can we make this happen? Communities can use existing tax credits and the benefits of bulk purchasing to make this affordable. The state can redirect existing funds to do a pilot project to develop the community’s tools to make it easier for neighborhoods to harness rooftop potential. Businesses can use the tax credits and take advantage of their expansive spaces, and public buildings can lead by example.
In just a few years Baltimore could replace the holiday song “Up on the roof tops, click, click, click” with “Up on the roof tops, cash, cash, cash.”