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Solar project at Hancock's wastewater-treatment plant runs into hurdles

Subterranean rock causes site to be moved about 100 yards north on the property

July 13, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

The construction of a solar power-generating facility at Hancock's wastewater-treatment plant has gotten off to a rocky start, but the project will continue, Town Manager David Smith told the town council Wednesday night.

The site for the solar panels will be moved about 100 yards north on the treatment plant's 250-acre property because of rocks, Smith said.

Subterranean rock at the site has proven resistant to boring, so it is being moved to where the drilling for panel foundations will be easier, he said.

In September, the Hancock Town Council heard presentations from Millennium 3 and another company proposing to place solar facilities at the treatment plant. The town later signed a power purchase agreement with Millennium to build the plant and buy the electricity it generates.

"We'll get our electricity from a green, renewable source, and we'll pay 10 percent less than the market" price, Smith said.

The beginning of construction was delayed in the spring because of wet weather, Phil Kelly of Millennium 3 Energy said in April.

Moving the panels will also take the facility out of a disputed flood plain, Smith said Wednesday.

The Maryland Energy Administration in April announced Hancock was receiving $104,000 through its Project Sunburst for the 104 kilowatt facility. It was one of 17 grants to local governments to encourage investments in clean, renewable energy, the administration said at the time.

The grant money to help Millennium 3 build the plant has been received by the town. Despite the delays, the project has been granted an extension and will eventually be completed, Smith said.

 The total cost of the project will be about $500,000, he said.

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