Family Farm Uses Solar to Transform Underused Land into a New Income Source
Renewable energy is a natural fit for U.S. farms as they look for additional ways to manage their land for generations of production. The Fritz Family Farms, LLC in New Windsor, Maryland, partnered with Standard Solar, Inc. on a 2.7 megawatt (MW) solar array on 12 acres of their 400-acre grain, hay and cattle farm.
With help from Earth and Air Technologies and Ogos Energy, Standard Solar developed, built and owns the single-axis tracking solar array, which is configured for Maryland’s virtual Aggregate Net-Energy Metering (ANEM) program — an innovative program set up by Maryland’s 2019 Clean Energy Jobs Act.
“This solar project is a win-win scenario for all — it is transforming a portion of low yield land into 20-year predictable revenue for a family-run farm while providing affordable, reliable power to the region’s public water authority,” said John Finnerty, Director of Business Development, Standard Solar. “It also highlights how smart solar project siting practices can benefit agriculture, complement farm operations and land use.”
Power Produced Helps Local Utility Reach Sustainability Goals
The 7,336-panel high efficiency engineered project is expected to produce approximately 4,000 MW hours (MWh) annually. The power will be purchased by WSSC Water, one of the largest water and wastewater utilities in the nation, contributing to its sustainability goals and adding value for their Maryland customers.
“Energy management is critical to WSSC Water,” said Robert Taylor, Energy Manager, WSSC Water. “Investing in solar energy pays dividends both economically and environmentally as it lowers our dependence on carbon-based fuels.”
This project provides economic benefit to the landowner, operator and community while harnessing clean renewable energy. We have been using our own solar energy in our operation since 2014 and felt this was an excellent opportunity to diversify our income.