In 2021, we resolve not to pay sales tax on ENERGY STAR appliances!

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Montgomery Energy Connection

Network of customized education on the benefits of energy efficiency, availability of programs, and opportunities for assistance for residents in Montgomery County, MD

Brought to you by DEP Energy

Thursday, January 14, 2021 | Department of Environmental Protection

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ENERGY STAR Tax Free Weekend is Around the Corner!

RESIDENTIAL: Every President’s Day weekend, shoppers across Montgomery County can participate in the state’s Shop Maryland Energy Tax Free Weekend which gives residents a break on the six percent sales tax for qualifying ENERGY STAR products. This year, it coincides with Valentine’s Day which means that you can treat your loved one to brand new appliances without paying sales tax. Make your plans now.

Middle School Student Starts Plogging

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RESIDENTIAL: Joaquin Contreras Rushing a student at Silver Spring International Middle School was biking on Sligo Creek when he saw signs for the #MontgomeryPlogs Challenge. He decided to use the Wednesdays he has off from virtual learning to do something for the environment. Check out more about why he plogs and how he has gotten others to plog with him.

21 Tips to Save on Energy Bills


RESIDENTIAL: If you are one of the many people working from home because of coronavirus, you may have noticed your energy bills creeping up. But do not worry – you can cut the cost of your gas and electric by becoming more energy efficient. Peter Earl from the Energy Team at Compare the Market has shared twenty-one of this favorite energy saving tips with us. Maybe some of these can help you lower your utility bills and help keep money in your pocket this year.

Partners in Energy: Meet Noah Ryan


RESIDENTIAL: As part of the Partners in Energy series, we highlight individuals who are dedicated to improving energy efficiency and helping the county realize its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100% by the year 2035. Noah Ryan is the new Program Coordinator for Senior Planet Montgomery. Through virtual workshops at libraries, community and senior centers, Senior Planet offers sessions for older adults focused on user-friendly tools and resources so residents can utilize energy-saving technologies to improve their daily lives.

Montgomery Receives ‘SolSmart Gold’ Designation for Prioritizing Solar

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COUNTY: Montgomery County is the first Maryland jurisdiction to receive a “Gold” (the highest) designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar.  This designation recognizes Permitting, Planning, Zoning, Development, Inspection, Community Engagement, Marketing, Development and Finance practices to prioritize solar energy growth and streamline the processes necessary for solar development.


Virtual Information Room for Public to Review and Respond to the Draft Climate Action Plan

COUNTY: Montgomery County has launched a virtual information room to facilitate public review of the Draft Climate Action Plan. The Draft Climate Action Plan is the County’s strategic plan to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 percent by 2027 and by 100 percent by 2035. The 87 climate actions outlined in the plan lay the path to achieving the County’s ambitious climate goals while building a healthy, equitable and resilient community. Click here for more information about the Draft Climate Action Plan and the virtual information room. The Draft Climate Action Plan is open for public review and comment through Feb. 28. The plan will be finalized in the spring of 2021.

Two-year Extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit Approved

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COUNTRY: Congress has passed broad end-of-year legislation that includes significant benefits for solar energy. The full legislative package combines a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package and an omnibus spending bill for 2021 with tax extenders and energy policy changes. The legislation provides a two-year extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and additional funding for research and development, including on soft costs critical to distributed energy deployment and support for more sensible access to federal lands for renewable energy projects. Read what else is included here.

My Green Montgomery

My Green Montgomery Green Jobs Board

The My Green Montgomery Green Jobs Board will help you find green jobs in our region.  We post jobs for free, if they:

  • are green jobs (focused on energy, sustainability, water, trees, community greening, environmental ed, etc.)
  • based in the DC or Baltimore regions. Jobs in Montgomery County or easy for our residents to commute to work!

We pre-approve each job before posting, but we do not guarantee the length of time jobs will be posted. To look for new job opportunities, click here.

Energy News Roundup


The Montgomery County Energy Team receives tons of newsletters and articles every day, and these are a few articles that we wanted to share this month. These articles range from county, state, national and international stories, we hope you find them as interesting as we did.

100% Renewable Energy: Grist built a tiny model town to show what it would look like if we tried to transition to 100% clean energy,

Alternative Energy: Recently, there has been an expansion and a positive shift in people embracing renewable energy sources, both on international and local levels,

Batteries: The advent of "big battery" technology addresses a key challenge for green energy – the intermittency of wind and solar. Could these batteries make fossil fuels obsolete?

Biomass: Many are resorting to biomass energy because it is considered to be an organic and renewable energy source that many believe will serve as a reliable "transition" from fossil fuels to cleaner sources, such as solar and wind energy,

Clean Energy: The U.S. Congress passed a massive spending bill that includes $35 billion in energy research and development programs, a two-year extension of the Investment Tax Credit for solar power, a one-year extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind power projects, and an extension through 2025 for offshore wind tax credits — a significant last-minute boost for clean energy industries,

Climate Change: Cambridge, Massachusetts, has become the first US city to mandate the placing of stickers on fuel pumps to warn drivers of the resulting dangers posed by the climate crisis,

Coal: The operator of the largest coal-fired power plant in Maryland, GenOn Holdings, Inc. announced that it would cease operations at its 50-year-old Morgantown power plant in Charles County by 2027, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,

Congregations: EPA report shows onsite renewable energy growth among worship facilities,

Electrifying Homes: Replacing your gas furnace, water heater, stove, and clothes dryer promises to lock in long-term environmental and economic benefits—but beware of surprise costs,

Emissions: After a record breaking wildfire season that burned more than four million acres on the West Coast, and a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season that included 30 named storms (12 of which made landfall), the news that carbon emissions would drop a record 2.4 billion tons in 2020 seemed like a turning point for the climate,

Energy Efficiency: Maryland ranked #6 according to the ACEEE 2020 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard,  

Green Roof and Solar Report: This project examines the feasibility of combining green roofs and solar panels on top of the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus as a case study,

Hydrogen: A flood of investments and energy industry pledges made 2020 a breakout year for low-carbon hydrogen. But 2021 may be when the hype gives way to hard questions,

Peecycling: Urine diversion shows multiple environmental benefits when used at city scale,

Resolutions: According to experts, these nine (9) climate resolutions should be kept in 2021,

Solar: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $45 million for research to advance solar hardware and systems integration, including the creation of a consortium dedicated to developing control technologies for a modernized electric grid,

Webinars & Events: January & February


Guess what’s brewing? For the entire month of FeBREWary, we will be visiting local OUTDOOR breweries to bring you socially distant ways to swap out old, inefficient bulbs. Every Saturday in February we will be at a different location, check out where and when

Monday, January 18
11:00 am – 12:00 pm 
“Green” Tips: In Service to Our Environment

Tuesday, January 19
7:15 - 9:00 pm   
Social Justice Aspects of the Montgomery County Draft Climate Action Plan

Thursday, January 21
6:30 – 8:00 pm 

MD Solar Democracy & Equity Collaborative Webinar

Tuesday, January 26
6:30 – 8:00 pm
Poolesville Green Living Series: Montgomery County Climate Action Plan

Thursday, January 28
6:30 – 8:00 pm
Montgomery County's Climate Action Plan Presentation at Audubon Naturalist Society

Tuesday, February 2
7:30 – 8:30 pm
All About Montgomery County’s New Climate Action Plan

Saturday, February 6 
1:00 - 3:00 pm 
FeBREWary Brews and Bulbs 

Wednesday, February 10
1:00 – 2:00 pm

Here Comes the Sun: The Road to 10% Local Solar Generation & 100% Renewable Electricity

Saturday, February 20
1:00 - 3:00 pm 
FeBREWary Brews and Bulbs 

Saturday, February 27 
1:00 - 3:00 pm 
FeBREWary Brews and Bulbs