Howard County Groundbreaking for Multiple Solar Energy Arrays
On Thursday, July 15, 2021, Howard County government officials broke ground for a large Public Sector Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in Maryland. Under a typical PPA, a solar developer builds a solar array at it’s own cost under an agreement to sell all of the array’s solar energy to a buyer at an agreed upon price for a multi-year timeframe. Such a contract can provide stability to energy prices over the life of the contract.
Comprising 11 separate projects, sited on both public and private land and buildings, the solar arrays will produce over 44,000,000 kWh of electricity each year, providing more than 50% of the County’s electricity usage. The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) provided about $1 million of funding support for six of the projects under the Public Facility Solar Grant Program, and one project under the Solar Canopy Grant Program. These projects include rooftop solar arrays at the Howard County Courthouse, the Detention Center in Jessup, the East Columbia Library, the Gateway Building in Columbia, and the Scaggsville Public Safety Complex; as well as solar canopy arrays at the East Columbia Library and the Gateway Building.
Dr. Mary Beth Tung, Director of the Maryland Energy Administration (third from the left) participated in the groundbreaking ceremony, reminding the audience of the Governor’s commitment to the inclusion of solar arrays on public buildings and facilities and other areas that have multiple uses. She also spoke about the need for communication, coordination and cooperation between State and County government, as well as with the commercial and public sectors.
“Howard County Government is providing a great example of how to implement solar power systems across multiple facilities while working with the solar community to identify the best locations,” said Dr. Tung. “We are delighted to provide funding support to help the County leverage a number of sites, including those that have dual uses — such as buildings and parking lots — as part of its energy portfolio.”
Additional information concerning the groundbreaking and projects can be found in the Howard County press release.