The former site of the Gaithersburg Landfill is now being eyed for two Maryland community solar projects. Montgomery County is working closely with Ameresco, a renewable energy solutions company, to develop an 11.4-million kilowatt-hours project that includes two community solar programs as a push to reduce the county’s overall carbon emissions to zero by 2035.
Ameresco is expecting to lead the charge on the Maryland community solar projects, which are part of a three-development plan for the Gaithersburg Landfill. The trio of solar arrays is going to take up approximately 16 acres of land owned by Montgomery County found at 6010 Riggs Road in Gaithersburg. According to plans for the whole project, it’s estimated to generate 6-megawatts of solar energy.
Though the first array under development will be part of the county’s power purchase agreement, the remaining acreage will be devoted to the two Maryland community solar projects. Based on the agreement for the solar programs, all energy produced by the sites will be offered to low-to-middle income subscribers. To ensure the projects get underway without delay, Ameresco will be there at all stages, from financing to construction to operation. However, Ameresco will subcontract parts of the development to create jobs for the county. The focus of these employment opportunities will be local, minority, female, or disabled-owned firms.
According to Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, the agreement with Ameresco pushes the county’s plans for net-zero carbon emissions forward at a greater pace. While serving as a benefit to the county and the environment, the energy generated at the Gaithersburg Landfill sites will also directly benefit residents looking to reduce their electricity bills.
Subscribers to the two programs will replace traditional power with solar energy. In return for being a subscriber and taking an active role in protecting the environment, participants will be eligible for a discount on their monthly utility bills.
There is still much to be done before construction can begin, but it’s scheduled for commission in 2021.