FREDERICK, Md. – Frederick County Government continues to lead the way with renewable energy, boosting its solar energy generation by nearly 2 million kilowatts hours annually with the addition of two new projects. Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner announced that a new solar array began operation this year and two solar canopies are nearing completion on County properties.
“We know that we save green when we go green,” Executive Gardner said. “The actions we take today will help to slow the rate of climate change and lead to lower energy costs. Now is the time for us to take action.”
Frederick County and its fellow jurisdictions in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments collectively reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 24% between 2005 and 2020, surpassing the region’s goal. To help meet the next goal of a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030, Frederick County continues to add renewable energy generation projects. A solar array began operating this year on a five-acre site near the Ballenger McKinney Wastewater Treatment Plant, next to the County’s Division of Water and Sewer Utilities office. The array, with 3,528 photovoltaic panels, will generate approximately 1.8 million kilowatt hours a year, equal to about 17% of the treatment plant’s power usage. It will also energize a backup power supply. The array is expected to save $130,000 a year through a net metering arrangement.
Also going online soon are two solar canopies that have been constructed on a parking lot that serves the Bourne Building, home to the main offices of Frederick County’s Division of Public Works and Division of Parks and Recreation. Each canopy contains 84 solar panels. There is room for 16 cars to park underneath the canopies. The canopies will reduce the Bourne Building’s energy consumption by 15% to 20% a year. During the construction of the canopies, four new electric vehicle charging stations were installed at the site.
Frederick County received grants to offset the cost of each project. The Maryland Department of the Environment awarded Frederick County $2.3 million toward the Ballenger McKinney array. The Maryland Energy Administration provided $45,000 toward the solar canopy and EV charging stations.