A new landfill solar array in Frederick County, Md., is expected to generate enough renewable energy to supply close to 20% of the county government’s general electric usage.
The project, comprising 7,776 panels over nearly 14 acres at the Reichs Ford Road Landfill, is estimated produce more than 3.5 million kWh of electricity per year.
Through a net metering agreement, electricity generated by the solar array is transferred to Potomac Edison’s power grid. The county then offsets power costs at designated county facilities: TransIT electric bus charging stations, Winchester Hall, the Frederick Senior Center, the landfill’s scale house and three public libraries.
“Frederick County is powered by the sun and leading the way on renewable energy,” says Jan Gardner, county executive. “Our electric buses are being charged using solar energy, so they are running on 100 percent renewable energy. This project ensures that Frederick County is poised for a bright future for generations to come.”
The county will have access to renewable power at a fixed rate for at least the next 20 years, under the terms of a 20-year agreement between the county and TESLA Energy. TESLA will be responsible for the operations and maintenance of the solar array.
The agreement also allows the county to purchase and own solar renewable energy certificates (RECs) that the system generates for at least the next six years at a reduced rate of $22. By comparison, RECs on the market today cost between $54 and $57, the county says.
The county is also planning a solar project at the Ballenger McKinney wastewater treatment plant.