Carroll County Considers Solar Energy Options

A July 13, 2015, Carroll County Times article reported that the Carroll County Board of Commissioners is considering a variety of options to take advantage of solar energy rates that are cheaper than what the county currently pays to its primary energy provider, BGE.  The Commissioners expect to make a final decision on Thursday, July 16.  The article noted that one option which received a lot of discussion was leasing land at the Hood Mills Landfill and Carroll Community College to a private energy company who would install the solar arrays:

These [two] properties — as well as sites at the other county landfills and its water treatment facilities — are large enough to make it worthwhile for a solar energy company to install panels at no charge to the county, [Carroll County Deputy Director of Public Works Scott Moser] said.

The electrical cost savings associated with installing solar arrays at these sites would be $225,000 a year, Moser said. If the county were also to purchase electricity generated at an out-of-county energy provider, this would increase the savings by another $50,000 a year, he said.

The article also noted several other options that were discussed by the commissioners and Moser:

The rate to purchase solar energy from an out-of-county solar grid would be 8.7 cents per kilowatt hour, also cheaper than Carroll government’s current rate, [Moser] said. …

An alternative to leasing land for the construction of solar arrays would be to construct them with county money, thus paying upfront for the cost but saving by not paying monthly bills, Moser said. Another possibility, suggested by Commissioner Richard Rothschild, R-District 4, would be to purchase all of Carroll government’s energy from a outside solar energy grid. …

Moser said such an option would be a possibility, although one advantage of leasing land to private companies is the county would then be eligible for a 30 percent tax credit on the county’s electric rate. The credit expires Dec. 31, 2016, and the project or projects must be fully constructed and operational by that date, Moser said.