The Planning Board Approves Solar Arrays For County Parks in Germantown, Rockville
The Montgomery County Planning Board approved on March 12 two solar arrays proposed for South Germantown Recreational and Rock Creek Regional Parks to reduce the county’s carbon footprint.
The Planning Board voted 4-0 in favor of the placement of the commission’s first solar arrays in the county. Commissioner Norman Dreyfuss was absent.
Montgomery Parks staff evaluated approximately 135 park owned properties from an inventory of more than 400 parks, according to Dominic Quattrocchi, park planner. Sites that would displace existing or future planned uses, clear forest, or impact sensitive buffer areas were excluded, according to Montgomery Parks. Conservation Parks, stream valley parks, and neighborhood parks were largely excluded from site selection review. Thirty-five “finalists” were further analyzed.
“Not sure the costs of the [two] solar arrays at this time as we are issuing a Request for Proposal. A lease/contract will be awarded where a third party specializing in solar PV installation finances, builds and maintains the solar arrays for a specified time period and provides a negotiated rate on the energy produced and transmitted to a power utility as part of a net metering arrangement,” Quattrocchi wrote in an email to MyMCMedia.
The proposed area for a solar array in Rock Creek Regional Park is an approximate seven-acre area east of Needwood Road, directly south of the Inter County Connector on land used to stage and store sediment recently excavated from Lake Needwood. This area was part of a larger area purchased in August 2011 from the Maryland State Highway Administration (34.5 acres) specifically for the purpose of receiving dredge spoils.
The proposed area for a solar array at South Germantown Recreational Park (SGRP) is in a field west of the Maintenance Facility and adjacent to high voltage power transmission lines. Currently under an agricultural lease for hay production, this field is visually removed from adjacent properties and the perimeter park road.
According to Montgomery Parks the benefits of the arrays are:
- Reduced carbon footprint equivalent to annual greenhouse gas emissions from 300 automobiles
- Estimated energy savings up to $290,850 per year per 2 megawatt solar array
- Reduce dependence on non-renewable resources and impact of extraction techniques that harm the environment
- Consistent with M-NCPPC’s Mission Statement
- Consistent with Montgomery County’s Energy Initiatives and Carbon Reduction Goal
“The Commission expects to save in neighborhood of 120,000 dollars annually over the life of the project. As this is part of a net metering agreement the energy generated will go directly into the utility grid,” he wrote.
The Solar Initiative report can be found here.