Howard County this week turned on the first of 11 solar projects as part of the County’s Power Purchase Agreement.
The agreement — the largest of its kind in the state — will generate 44,000,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a year, covering more than 75 percent of the County’s energy demand at the same price point as current power sources. The PPA allows the County to buy power from solar arrays developed on County and private-owned land.
“Our historic solar power purchasing agreement, which will power more than 75 percent of the County’s operations, puts us on track to exceed our environmental and energy independence goals,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “We’re investing in bold solutions, backed by science, to sustain Howard County’s resources and combat climate change. Now is our time, and now is our chance to make Howard County the leader in clean solar energy.”
The Circuit Courthouse project will generate 1.1 million kWh a year — enough to push the Courthouse from LEED Silver to LEED Gold. The Courthouse solar array is one of a few in the agreement that is a dual array – in this case, a ground mount and a rooftop array. Additionally, a pollinator habitat will be grown under the ground mount array.
According to a County press release:
The other project sites of the PPA include:
- Triple Creek Farm
- Clear View Farm
- Rural Rhythm Farm
- East Columbia Library rooftop & carport
- Gateway Building rooftop & carport
- Walnut Creek and Walnut Grove Septic Fields
- 50+ Center in East Columbia
- Waterloo Firehouse
- Scaggsville Police Station
- Detention Center
“The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) congratulates Howard County for their leadership in launching a comprehensive solar initiative that can aid in supplying the majority of their government operations with clean energy”, said MEA Director Mary Beth Tung. “MEA’s Public Facilities Solar Program helps local governments, state institutions and other public entities defray the costs of solar on their facilities. That is why through this program, MEA was able to provide nearly one million dollars in aggregate to support this and seven other projects that are helping Maryland achieve its clean energy goals while creating jobs and more affordable energy for Maryland’s local jurisdictions. MEA looks forward to future collaborations with the County as it continues to demonstrate clean energy leadership.”