Anne Arundel of Baltimore, MD, has recently scheduled the operation of its first community solar project for July 2021. The Tracys Landing community solar facility is one of four facilities being developed in the Anne Arundel region. Along with the Tracys Landing installation, other solar facilities will be completed near the Nayard and Sands roads intersection.
The development of Anne Arundel’s first community solar project came as part of Baltimore’s 2017 community solar pilot program. As part of the program, utility customers are offered the opportunity to participate in clean solar energy without having to incur the costs of installing expensive solar panels.
The Tracys Landing project, known as the Checkerspot Community Solar Farm, will allow consumers to subscribe and draw solar energy directly from the grid. Its name was inspired by the checkerspot butterfly, Maryland’s state insect.
The pole-mounted solar arrays at Checkerspot will follow the sun from east to west to maximize the generation of solar energy throughout the day. According to Standard Solar’s director of business development, Eric Partyka, the 9.4-acre facility will be built on a 10×10’ slab of concrete. As part of the construction, the property’s owner will add an easement for the conservation of the nearby forestry. As part of most of Standard Solar’s facilities, the company adds pollinator gardens to attract essential insects like butterflies and bees.
Checkerspot has been in development since 2017 when it was first submitted for consideration. In the same year, a moratorium was put in place for solar installations. In 2018, Anne Arundel adjusted its solar farm location laws that would have hindered development on the Tracys Landing project. However, Checkerspot and the three future facilities were grandfathered in under the older laws.
The energy produced by Checkerspot will play an active role in meeting the state’s goals outlined in the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2019.