Baltimore County has committed to increasing its use of renewable energy resources as part of its Renewable Energy Policy. In 2016, the County contracted with Solar City to install 21 megawatts of ground-mounted solar power systems at four County-owned properties. Through a power purchase agreement (PPA), Solar City will finance, install and maintain the solar power systems at no upfront cost to the County. In exchange, the County has agreed to purchase the electricity produced at lower rates than current utility costs, resulting in savings from avoided electricity costs.
Solar Projects Locations
The solar panels will be located at the following sites:
- the closed Hernwood landfill in Woodstock, MD
- the closed Parkton landfill in Parkton, MD
- a small portion of Mount Vista Park in Kingsville, MD
- a small portion of Southwest Area Regional Park in Lansdowne, MD
The County worked with multiple agencies, including the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability and the Department of Recreation and Parks, to minimize the impact to existing environmental and recreational resources. For instance, at Mount Vista Park, the solar power system will only be installed in the northern portion of the park, an estimated 9 acres of the 111-acre site. The remaining park and recreation fields will remain available for use by the community. Additionally, the reforestation project on the eastern portion of the property will not be affected.
Solar Projects Benefits
In the first year of operation, it is estimated that the solar power systems will generate more than 28 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, exceeding the 20 percent goal outlined in the Renewable Energy Policy. This is expected to generate more than $450,000 in savings.
Over the lifetime of the 25 year PPA, the County estimates it will save more than $20 million, assuming a modest increase in utility electricity prices over that same period.
In addition to supporting green jobs, the solar power systems are expected to avoid the emission of more than 482,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide over the 25 year project lifespan.
Solar Projects Timelines
Construction and installation of the solar power systems will begin in the summer of 2017. Southwest Area Park, Mount Vista Park and Parkton landfill are expected to be fully installed and operational by the fall of 2017. Hernwood landfill, the largest of the solar project sites, will be operational by the spring of 2018.
Once operating, the County will be able to track how much solar energy is produced by each site on a daily, monthly, yearly and lifetime basis.
For more information about these projects, please contact Ayla Haig.