ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball was joined by state and local officials to turn on first of 11 solar projects part of Howard County’s Power Purchase Agreement. The agreement is the largest of its kind in the state and will generate 44,000,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a year which will cover more than 75% of the County’s energy usage at the same price of current energy.
The PPA allows the County to buy power off solar arrays developed on both County owned land, such as the Circuit Courthouse, and private owned land in Howard County. Photos of the event can be found here. Drone video of the new solar arrays can be found here.
“Our historic solar power purchasing agreement, which will power more than 75% of the County's operations, puts us on track to exceed our environmental and energy independence goals. We’re investing in bold solutions, backed by science, to sustain Howard County’s resources and combat climate change Now is our time, and now is our chance to make Howard County the leader in clean solar energy."
This project will generate 1.1 million kwh a year which was enough to push the Courthouse from LEED Silver to LEED Gold. The Courthouse solar array is one of a few in the agreement that is a dual array – in this case a ground mount and a rooftop array. Additionally, a pollinator habitat will be grown under the ground mount array.
The other project sites of the PPA include:
- Triple Creek Farm
- Clear View Farm
- Rural Rhythm Farm
- East Columbia Library rooftop & carport
- Gateway Building rooftop & carport
- Walnut Creek and Walnut Grove Septic Fields
- 50+ Center in East Columbia
- Waterloo Firehouse
- Scaggsville Police Station
- Detention Center
“As a policymaker on the House Economic Matters Committee, it is always great to witness enabling legislation evolve into innovative application,” said Delegate Pam Queen. “This solar project is the first of 19 projects in Howard County that will be achieved. Howard County is leading the way in Maryland implementing solar projects that create financial savings for the county, help combat climate change, and move Maryland towards our clean energy goals. Other counties across Maryland, including mine should take notes.”
“CI Renewables is delighted to celebrate the commencement of operations of the Howard County Courthouse solar project, the first of 19 separate solar projects on 11 sites to supply Howard County with clean inexpensive solar power with no capital investment,” said Alan Epstein, CEO of CI Renewables. “These solar projects are a testament to the leadership and vision of County Executive Calvin Ball and the Howard County Office of Sustainability.”
"At CleanCapital, our mission is to attract more investment to solar and storage projects - both to accelerate the transition to a clean energy future and to mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis," remarked Julia Bell, Chief Commercial Officer of CleanCapital. "Today, we are thrilled to celebrate the completion of the Howard County Courthouse solar array, which exemplifies the realization of our mission. Heartfelt thanks to all of our partners, my colleagues and the many other stakeholders that brought this notable project to fruition. Additionally, we extend our gratitude to the Howard County community; as the long-term owners of the solar array, we look forward to serving you all for many years to come."
“The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) congratulates Howard County for their leadership in launching a comprehensive solar initiative that can aid in supplying the majority of their government operations with clean energy", said MEA Director Mary Beth Tung. "MEA’s Public Facilities Solar Program helps local governments, state institutions and other public entities defray the costs of solar on their facilities. That is why through this program, MEA was able to provide nearly one million dollars in aggregate to support this and seven other projects that are helping Maryland achieve its clean energy goals while creating jobs and more affordable energy for Maryland’s local jurisdictions. MEA looks forward to future collaborations with the County as it continues to demonstrate clean energy leadership.”