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Montgomery County nearly doubles solar power commitment

On August 10, 2016

Photo from montgomerycountymd.gov

Montgomery County will surpass its commitment to install six megawatts of solar power on county facilities by adding a new, large-scale project at the former Oaks Landfill in Laytonsville.

The Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP) and General Services signed a contract, last week to add five megawatts of solar power, expected to nearly double the amount of clean energy generated on county property.

With the addition of the solar project at Oaks Landfill, the county could generate more than 13 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year. That is enough to power more than 1,300 homes or reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 9,000 metric tons, and is as environmentally beneficial as planting 236,000 trees or taking more than 1,930 cars off the road for a year. In addition, solar energy generation is expected to save the county up to $15 million in electric bills over the 20-year term of the contracts compared to current utility power costs.

“I am proud to announce that Montgomery County will greatly surpass our goal for clean energy generation on County sites,” said DGS Director David Dise. “Our commitment to clean energy has allowed the County to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions while also creating jobs and reducing operating costs.”

Under a competitively awarded project, SolarCity will finance, build, and maintain the solar project for 20 years at no upfront cost to the County. The County will purchase the electricity generated at a fixed rate, which could save approximately $200,000 each year, benefiting both solid waste services ratepayers and taxpayers. 

“Hosting one of the county’s largest solar installations at the former Oaks Landfill is a great example of Montgomery County applying ‘reduce-reuse-recycle’ to our facilities and operations,” said, DEP Director Lisa Feldt. “We are already using the methane gas on the site to generate electricity; and we are pleased to add solar-energy generation on the property.”

The community surrounding the former landfill site expressed support for the solar project at a public meeting and through one-on-one outreach conducted by the county. The 550-acre Oaks Landfill opened in June 1982 and operated for 15 years before the landfill closed in 1997. 

This project is part of a larger effort to reduce the impact of county government operations on the environment by maximizing the generation of solar energy on county facilities, including the installation of solar panels on libraries, recreation centers, child care centers, correctional facilities, and offices. SolarCity is already operating seven solar projects on behalf of the county, with an additional seven sites under construction. Construction of the project at the former Oaks Landfill is expected to begin in early 2017.

To track the progress of the County’s solar and advanced energy initiative, visit Office of Energy and Sustainability webpage.

For more information about this project, or the County’s other green initiatives, call Eric Coffman, 240-777-5595.

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