Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced a Solar Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) with KDC Solar, Inc. that would cover approximately 30 percent of the total annual electricity use for County government operations, at no capital cost to the County and providing a total anticipated cost benefit of $1.2 million over the 25 year life of the contract.
“Amid challenging times for the health and economic wellbeing of our entire planet, today’s 50th anniversary of Earth Day serves as a critical reminder of the importance of creating a better, more sustainable world,” said Ball. “This solar power agreement allows the County to meet our renewable energy generation goals and reduce greenhouse gas emissions without any upfront costs. Moreover, this agreement provides job opportunities for training residents in solar installation, brings the Circuit Courthouse and East Columbia 50+ Center from LEED Silver to LEED Gold, and provides space for the installation of pollinator habitats under solar panels. This is a huge step in the right direction to make Howard County the leader in creating a clean and sustainable environment for all.”
Through the PPA, KDC Solar will, at no cost to the County, construct, operate, and maintain the solar panels and associated solar energy generation equipment at its sole expense. These solar energy systems will be on County-owned and non-County-owned property. The County then pays a per kilowatt hour rate for the electricity generated by the solar energy systems, just as it would to any other energy supplier.
The PPA includes approximately 24 MW DC of solar, which is expected to generate approximately 34,500,000 kWh per year. This is approximately 30 percent of the total annual electricity use for County government operations, and greatly exceeds the County’s goal to obtain 20 percent of the power needed for County government operations from renewable energy by 2024. Over the 25-year contract term, the anticipated greenhouse gas emissions reduction is 536,613 metric tons Carbon Dioxide Equivalent, which is equivalent to taking 113,931 cars off the road for a year.
A comprehensive overview of the solar PPA can be read here.
Clean and Sustainable Environment
County Executive Ball has made it a core pillar of his administration to create a cleaner and more sustainable environment for Howard County. Since taking office in 2019, he has been dedicated to ensuring Howard County is leading in the fight for energy independence by promoting green infrastructure, decreasing emissions, promoting agricultural conservation and innovation, continuing park improvements and expanding renewable energy use.
- Signed the “We Are Still In” declaration, a commitment to the climate action of the Paris Agreement
- Became the first county in the nation to formally accept the United States Climate Alliance’s Natural and Working Lands Challenge
- Named a “Maryland Smart Energy Community” by the Maryland Energy Administration
- Announced a plan to convert nearly 8,000 streetlights to energy-efficient, long-lasting LED lights
- Announced a plan to implement a routine, systematic, and detailed investigation of energy use at all County buildings to identify and address energy inefficiencies
- Announced plans to increase the target efficiency of the new circuit courthouse from LEED Silver to Gold status
- Pursuing installation of at least 25 new electric vehicle charging stations at libraries, parks, community centers, senior centers, and County offices over the next five years
- Expanded the curbside food scraps collections area to add almost 10,000 additional homes to the program
- Committed to making our communities more resilient to climate change through our land use planning and disaster risk management efforts
- Received $1.8 million state grant for the Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant Advanced Process Instrumentation and Control System (APICS) project, to protect the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
- Proposed legislation to strengthen development regulations and safeguard watersheds
- Joined the Bee City USA Coalition to protect pollinators and our food sources
- Filed legislation to decrease harmful pesticide use on County lands
- Created 55 acres of pollinator-friendly meadow habitat on Howard County parkland
- Established Monarch Way-Stations at two County parks, which provide milkweeds, nectar plants, and shelter for monarch butterflies throughout their annual cycle of reproduction and migration
- Engaged professional researchers from the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center to conduct Bee Surveys at Centennial Park
- Announced major updates to the Howard County Forest Conservation Act, which had not been updated since the 1990s, to bring it into compliance with state law and strengthen environmental regulation
- Gave away 2,000 free trees to Howard County residents to promote new planting in the community
- Planted 44,000 trees around Howard County
- Committed to goals to promote renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions:
- Reduce electricity use in County-owned facilities by 25 percent by 2024
- Reduce petroleum fuel use in the County fleet 20 percent by 2024
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from County government operations 45 percent by 2030 and to zero by 2050.