Baltimore County Considers Solar Panels on Government Properties & Parks

Baltimore Sun article (2019-05-31) reported that Baltimore County is considering a plan to place solar panels on a variety of public properties and buildings. The plan would involve a power purchase agreement with no up front costs for the County. In exchange for receiving the generated energy and helping the County meet its goal of 20% renewable energy by 2022, the County would provide the participating solar company with financial benefits such as tax credits and income from selling excess electricity. County Executive Johnny Olszewki has promised to create a timeline for moving the County to 100% renewable energy.

The County has issued a request for proposals for 13 sites and interested solar companies have until June 18 to submit bids. However, the article noted there were potential concerns over some of some of the proposed ground-based solar sites. From the article:

County officials have identified more than a dozen public properties for possible solar arrays, including the rooftops of the Dundalk police precinct, the Randallstown Community Center, and the elections board office in Hunt Valley. They also are exploring the idea of placing the panels in public parks — which could prompt objections to green energy taking up green space.

“I think it’s terrific for our county government to sort of lead by example,” said Beth Miller of the Green Towson Alliance, whose platform calls for county properties to incorporate renewable energy sources. Still, “there’s a lot of controversy about ground-mounted solar, where it’s appropriate and where it’s not, so I’d be interested to learn more about the parks.”

The article also discussed previous attempts by the County to expand its solar footprint and some projects undertaken in other counties. The article cited successful projects in Garrett, Howard, and Montgomery County.