GROUND MOUNT SYSTEM
- System Specs | 4.5 MW
- System Production | 5,957 MWh
- Environmental Benefits | Eliminates the environmental impacts of 493,448 gallons of gasoline annually
Maryland’s Kent County, in collaboration with its School Board, County Commissioners and a local municipality, has installed 4.5 MW of photovoltaic (PV) solar power within its borders—making this Eastern Shore community, on the Chesapeake Bay, one of the largest public sector hosts of solar power in Maryland. With over 5,900 megawatt hours (MWh) of supplied energy annually, Kent County solar systems will avoid an estimated 4,852 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. In addition to the environmental benefits of producing zero-emissions solar energy on these sites, the County facilities are projected to realize savings in the millions of dollars over the next 20 years.
Kent County Commissioner, Ron Fithian, felt it was important to contribute to federal and state sustainability goals. He believed it was his role as a public servant to do the right thing for the people of his constituency by supporting President Obama’s nationwide solar efforts and promoting the importance of solar to the community. This solar opportunity provided financial benefits as it allowed the County to better manage state budget reductions. Officials determined that an Aggregate Net Energy Metered (ANEM) public sector solar project would be a smart investment that offered long term results, reduced energy costs and had a positive impact on the communities’ environment. “Kent County is proud to lead the way when it comes to adopting solar projects, helping us move away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy while saving money on our electric bills,” said Fithian.
In July 2010, Standard Solar responded to the initial bid for multiple Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) solar arrays for Kent County. Standard Solar worked closely with the County and the Kent County’s Board of Education (BOE) representatives to develop the details of the project. After several discussions and presentations to the BOE and county officials, and with the help of the law firm Funk and Bolton P.A., the project’s RFP expanded to become multiple solar installations that would benefit both the County and BOE. In July 2011, Standard Solar, in partnership with Washington Gas Energy Systems (WGES), was selected as the solar provider for the Worton Site project and finalized negotiations for a 1.26 MW solar array. By December 2012, the Worton, Kennedyville, Rock Hall and Fairlee Lagoons solar installations were all in operation, totaling to 4.5 MW in size. “Kent County has made great strides with its commitment to solar energy, while also setting a precedent in the state for using Aggregate Energy Net Metering,” said Scott Wiater, President of Standard Solar.
As with any undertaking that is among the first of its kind for the County, there were multiple hurdles to overcome. Standard Solar’s highly qualified and dedicated team worked closely with Kent County’s BOE and municipal officials to facilitate some of the unique aspects of these projects. Standard Solar’s team successfully combined the varying interests of both entities to develop a common good, producing a system that could be beneficial to all involved. As the Worton project was the State’s first public ANEM system, it set the standard for others to follow. ANEM allows for multiple facilities to receive credit for the power produced by a single large PV solar system - a relatively new concept for solar installations. In Maryland, municipal governments, non-profit organizations and agricultural operations may benefit from aggregation. In this case, the County Commissioners, as well as the School Board and Rock Hall town officials, worked in cooperation with Standard Solar to take advantage of the new regulations.
Though Maryland’s ANEM program was new, Standard Solar’s team was already an expert on the program. As the first and only solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) developer actively participating in steering the Maryland Public Service Commission’s ANEM working group, Standard Solar has been influential in the formalization of Maryland tariffs. Standard Solar was able to bring this experience and leadership to the Worton project to help navigate the installation process.
For the Rock Hall installation, there were several challenges with the interconnection of the system. Standard Solar’s experienced engineers successfully created and designed a technical interconnection process that was a unique and cost-effective solution which met the County’s needs. The sheer size of all the County installations was also a challenge, as the local utilities had not previously worked with solar projects on such a scale. Standard Solar engineers worked with the local utility to expand their solar knowledge and smooth the way for future area projects. Despite the complexity of the projects, Standard Solar’s team successfully delivered each town’s installation to the satisfaction of the County officials and the town members.
With Standard Solar’s expertise in developing, designing, engineering, financing, installing and operating photovoltaic systems, Kent County successfully achieved their solar goals. Through partnership with Standard Solar, the County successfully incorporated solar systems into their infrastructure and has controlled costs which also promoted Kent County’s overall environmental stewardship. “Kent County is at the forefront of the energy revolution with its commitment to solar energy,” said Scott Wiater, President of Standard Solar. “The leaders here have shown tremendous foresight in championing these community projects, creating a clean energy future for their constituents and realizing significant savings on energy costs.”
Kent County stands as a model of a solar powered county government. The solar arrays create a clean energy future for the community’s environment and offer the security of predictable and reduced energy costs. “Our solar projects place Kent County at the forefront of using clean, renewable solar energy to power county government in Maryland, creating a model for other counties and municipalities to emulate ” said James Wright, County Engineer. “Our partnership with Standard Solar has enabled us to provide energy savings and security to our County and its citizens and help contain costs while improving our local environment.”
As part of the agreement Standard Solar also provided education programs to the Kent County BOE where grades K-12 students of the County received a tour of the solar installation and were provided with an in-depth solar curriculum to specific age groups that the BOE continues to use to bring the knowledge of solar to the classroom.
All of the systems are ground-mounted, and together they utilize over 19,000 panels, supplying over 5,900 MWh of energy annually. The annual CO2 emissions offset equals eliminating the consumption of 493,448 gallons of gasoline and provides the annual electricity use of 659 average American homes.