Former Gaithersburg Landfill to be Used as Solar Energy Collection Site

Montgomery County and a provider of renewable energy solutions are partnering to generate 11.4 million kilowatt hours annually of solar energy, County Executive Marc Elrich announced Tuesday.

The energy collected will provide energy for low-to-moderate income households and the county government. It is part of the county’s plan to eliminate greenhouse emissions by 2035.

The county is partnering with Ameresco, an energy efficiency and renewable energy company, for three solar arrays to be built on approximately 16 acres of county-owned land at the former Oaks Landfill located at 6010 Riggs Road, Gaithersburg.  The project will be 6 megawatts total, according to a news release.

The first array will be used by the county under a power purchase agreement with no upfront cost. The other two arrays will be a community solar project with 100% of the generated electricity provided to low-to-moderate income subscribers. Ameresco will finance, design, construct, own and operate all the facilities.

“This public-private energy-saving initiative prioritizes renewable energy and wisely leverages underutilized public land to benefit a number of County interests,” Elrich said. “This agreement accelerates our environmental goals, lowers energy costs for hard-working families and places solar panels on brownfields, which should be the priority siting areas. The project provides residents unable to install solar on their own property with an opportunity to directly benefit from a shared solar power source.”

Ameresco’s proposal was selected in large part due to the rate provided for low-to-moderate households, which would be a 25 percent discount off the tariff rate.

“Our public-private partnership with Montgomery County to develop and implement a community solar program will provide energy cost savings to the County and to its participating low-to moderate-income residents. This project also leverages the use of an underutilized land asset that will produce revenue for the County, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to its carbon neutrality goal,” said Ameresco Executive Vice President and Director David J. Anderson.

According to the news release, Ameresco is committed to subcontracting a portion of the work to local, small and minority, female and disabled-owned business firms. During pre-construction, Ameresco will seek local business and workforce participation in the project.

A partnership with local vocational and educational institutions is part of the plan. Also, children in kindergarten through 12th grade will have a chance to learn about solar energy through Ameresco’s solar power wagon, a  hands-on learning tool.

This county has other solar photovoltaic initiatives, including microgrids at the Public Safety Headquarters in Gaithersburg and the Correctional Facility in Clarksburg. It also has other initiatives to help eliminate emissions, which are described at the Department of General Services’ Office of Energy and Sustainability webpage

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Suzanne Pollak

About Suzanne Pollak

Suzanne is a freelance reporter with Montgomery Community Media. She has over 35 years professional experience writing for newspapers, magazines, non-profit newsletters and the web.


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