Solar Panels at the Transfer Station
The roof of the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station is the site of the Montgomery County Government's first large-scale solar project.
The photovoltaic system consists of 1,248 solar panels, made in the United States. They produce 280 kilowatts, or about 30 percent of the facility’s energy needs. The panels began producing power in March 2011.
The system 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 American homes for one year.
This project is a joint effort of
- the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection
- the Maryland Energy Administration
- the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority
It was partially funded with a $280,000 Project Sunburst grant from the Maryland Energy Administration, with no upfront costs to us.
Under a Solar Power Purchase Agreement established through the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority, we will purchase and use the solar electricity generated by these panels to operate this facility for the next 20 years at costs about 20 percent lower than retail rates of traditional energy sources. We will save an estimated $200,000 in operating costs from the installation during this time period.
We incorporated a novel mechanism to secure environmental benefits from the system that equates to offsetting approximately 300 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, or the yearly emissions from 60 automobiles.