Monday, April 18, 2011
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett symbolically activated 1,248 solar panels on the roof of the County’s Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station that will generate approximately 350,000 kilowatt hours ( kWh) of electricity in the first year of operation and more than six million kWh over the 20-year life of the project.
In everyday equivalents, the six million kWh produced by the panels will produce enough energy to power 590 average U.S. homes for one year. The panels began producing power in March 2011.
The County paid no upfront capital costs for the solar energy system, thanks to $280,000 in grant funding from the Maryland Energy Administration’s (MEA) Project Sunburst program and a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with SunEdison of Beltsville. Through the PPA, SunEdison has financed and constructed the array and will operate and maintain the panels.
The County will pay a fixed kWh rate over the 20 years of the agreement, and the energy will be used in the operations of the Transfer Station. The Project Sunburst Grant reduced the costs of the long-term energy rates charged, while supporting the creation of “green dollar” jobs by using American-made products, like the solar modules, to complete the project.
Speaking at the “Flip the Switch” ceremony, Leggett said, “We are proud to be among the jurisdictions from around the state to have been selected for a Project Sunburst grant. Montgomery County is a nationally recognized leader in advancing clean energy and promoting sustainability, and although this may be a small project in the terms of output compared to some of the others, rest assured, it is a big deal for us to be able to do our part to produce clean, renewable energy.”
The Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority (NMWDA), the contract manager of the Transfer Station operations for the County, will purchase and use the energy produced for 20 years. NMWDA is a Regional Government organization whose mission is to plan and develop efficient, reliable waste management systems for its member jurisdictions, including those that provide for energy generation and resource recovery.
Close up and aerial views of the solar panel array at the Transfer Station may be seen on the Division of Solid Waste Services website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/solidwaste.