Green

Solar installer Astrum Solar snags funding from Baltimore utility

Constellation Energy, a holding company for Baltimore Gas & Electric, said it’s investing an undisclosed sum in Astrum Solar, which will provide solar panels for around 1 million of the utility’s customers.

Astrum, one of the largest residential solar panel providers on the East Coast, will install systems on around 2,000 homes this year. The average price for a home solar system is around $30,000 for an array that generates 10 kilowatts of power, based on a dozen or so quotes made through the site’s price calculator.

Solar panels on homes can help reduce some of the strain on power grids during peak usage hours, as when homes draw more electricity for air conditioning or electric car charging. It’s part of a “distributed solar” power strategy designed to reduce electricity demands on local power grids.

Interest has also been growing in companies that lease out and maintain home solar panels.¬†Google recently invested $280 million in SolarCity, a provider of residential solar panels. SunRun, the largest provider of home solar panels, also won General Electric’s Ecomagination Challenge. That award came with an investment, though the company wouldn’t specify how much funding it received from GE.

A study done by the University of California at Berkeley found that home values increase an average of $17,000 more per house when solar panels are installed.