By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Some residents of the Belair-Edison neighborhood are all smiles today. They’re seeing a big drop in their utility bills because of the sun.

Solar energy has come to the community. Six weeks ago, Wade Watkins has 14 solar panels installed on his roof.

“My energy bill went from basically from a little over $200, down to maybe like $80,” he tells WJZ. “So that’s a great savings to me.”

What’s happening in Baltimore is part of a growing solar industry.

“Baltimore is leading the way in terms of clean energy initiatives,” says U.S. Representative John Sarbanes (MD-3). “It represents a tremendous opportunity for what we can do as a country.”

About 30 homeowners in the neighborhood are now using solar energy.

“This really excites me because this gives our residents an opportunity to be a part of a national movement to promote energy conservation,” says Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Morgan State University is an important part of the initiative, through the Morgan Community Mile.

“One of our priority areas is the environment, and inside that is looking at solar energy and improving the quality of the environment,” says Morgan Community Mile director Ellis Brown.

It’s also improving the lives of the people of Belair-Edison.

“I’m excited,” says Watkins. “And not to mention we get to spread the word about solar panels.”

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