“Energy touches every aspect of our lives, from the cost of heating our homes to sustaining our resources for future generations.” O’Malley said. “We’re all here today because we understand that we are in a fight for our children’s future. Maryland is leading the nation’s efforts in clean energy and sustainability, and our state’s growing ‘green’ sector is vital to our ability to create jobs and compete globally in the new economy.”
The governor’s appearance, coupled with a growing vendor and visitor base, was seen by Lopez as a good sign.
“It’s good to see the governor is paying attention to these issues,” Lopez said. “The face that we have more than 500 people here shows the public is starting to take notice, as well. Now we just have to take the things we’ve learned and apply them. We need to make these things mainstream.”
One of the vendors was Millersville-based Solar Energy Services. Founded by Roger Perry in 2006, the company analyzes homes and installs solar panels for electricity, hot water and pool heaters, among other uses.
To heat enough water for an average family of four, Solar Energy Services installs two 4-foot by 8-foot solar panels at a cost of approximately $10,000, Perry said. But residents will receive Solar Renewable Energy Credits, along with other state and federal incentives, that will allow the panels to “pay for themselves” in just over two years, Perry said.
Both Perry and Solar Energy Services President Rick Peters say business has been exploding recently.
“We’re growing 80 percent a year, ” Peters said. “We’re growing and we just hired mroe people, so we’re also creating jobs.”
Another Millersville company, Kenergy Solar, also was at the expo. Though the company is only 2 years old, it already has installed solar panels throughout Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties, Coordinator Julia Sullivan said.
Sullivan praised O’Malley and the state’s legislators who are pushing for new, innovative renewable energy policies.
“They’re helping us create a sustainable industry,” Sullivan said.
Lopez is putting putting on another expo in Pennsylvania next month and hopes to eventually expand to Ohio, New York and beyond. He also hopes to add more to the expo in Timonium to a point where the parking lot is full of vendors and visitors alike, he said.
“We haven’t even scratched teh surface of what we can do.” Lopez said.
Maryland Energy Administration Director Malcolm Woolf shared similar sentiments.
“Maryland ahs emerged as a national leader in energy innovation, thanks to the smart choices we’ve made over the last five years,” Woolf said. “Today’s energy summit futher underscores Maryland’s commitment to accelerating our transition to a clean energy future.”