County unveils new solar power array


The solar panels will power seven county facilities

FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — On Wednesday, Frederick County commissioned a new 14-acre solar array through an agreement with electric car maker, Tesla.

The display took more than three years to complete.

“About two years worth of permitting, design. The construction, I believe we stepped on site the last week in February, really fully mobilized March 1st and permission to operate through the utility by the end of June,” explained senior project manager for Tesla, Garrett Gotlinger.

The county entered into a power purchase agreement with Tesla for the next 20 years, meaning the county buys the power from the company for a fixed rate of 5.6 cents per kilowatt hour.

The 7,776 solar modules, officials say, can generate about 2 megawatts of power.

“[The solar array] generation capacity is just under two megawatt at peak and what we actually get out of it on an annual basis is about three-point-seven, three-point-eight million kilowatt hours per year,” said deputy chief administrative officer for Frederick County, Michael Marschner.

All that energy will supply close to 20-percent of the county’s general electric usage and off-set power costs at seven county facilities including the three public libraries, the Emmitsburg Senior Center, and the TransIT electric bus charging station.

“Our independent analysis of it shows that it’s going to save us between a quarter of a million and a half-million dollars, so that’s right on the surface, it’s a good buy for power,” Marschner said.

The solar array was built on top of the county landfill, and the energy captured there will be distrusted by Potomac Edison.

Officials say a second solar array is expected at the Ballenger McKinney wastewater treatment plant by the end of the year.

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