Solar power proposal expected to generate revenue for Washington County

County plans to lease up to 130 acres at its Forty West and Resh Road landfills for solar development

June 19, 2012|By ANDREW SCHOTZ |
  • In this Herald-Mail file photo, a bag of trash is tossed from a vehicle in the commercial dumping area at Washington County 40 West landfill. Washington County plans to lease up to 130 acres at its Forty West and Resh Road landfills for EPG's 25-megawatt solar development.
Herald-Mail file photo

A proposed solar project will generate $515,000 for Washington County when it is completed and about $12.9 million over 25 years,  according to County Administrator Gregory B. Murray.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners agreed on Tuesday to the power purchase and lease agreements with EPG Solar.

The county plans to lease up to 130 acres at its Forty West and Resh Road landfills for EPG’s 25-megawatt solar development.

The EPG Solar project and a separate 20-megawatt solar farm under construction south of Hagerstown would contribute a large percentage of the solar power Maryland needs to meet renewable-energy benchmarks, EPG Solar owner Robert Babcock told county officials.

The Herald-Mailreported on the tentative contracts in early May, but full details were revealed Tuesday, as the commissioners approved them.

EPG Solar plans to build the project in phases, starting with four megawatts of capacity at the Forty West landfill on land that is not currently used, but could be in the future.


If Washington County decides to reclaim the land, it would purchase power from EPG Solar at a discounted rate, Murray said.

Later phases of the project will be on capped cells at the closed Resh Road landfill.
The agreements take effect July 1.

According to a summary Murray prepared, the agreements also call for the county to get:

  • $10,000 per megawatt installed for the land. With one megawatt needing five acres, that would be $2,000 an acre per year, or $250,000 a year when the project hits peak generation.
  • $5,000 per megawatt installed as an annual payment in lieu of taxes, or $125,000 when the project hits peak generation.
  • $10,000 as an activation fee for each megawatt as it is installed, for a total of $250,000.
  • A discounted power purchase of $100,000 per year, estimated using the cost of current power purchase agreements.
  • $15,000 in reduced land-maintenance costs, such as mowing.

The summary also said that local employees could be hired to work on the construction, although Babcock said that was hard to pinpoint now.

EPG Solar will try to use labor from this region, but it might not be from Washington County, he said.

For the solar farm south of Hagerstown, the state agreed to lease 250 acres on prison land, starting at $32,000 a year. The lease amount will rise 3 percent in the fourth year and every other year after that.

Maryland Solar LLC reached an agreement with the state for that 20-megawatt project. Maryland Solar since has been acquired by First Solar Inc.

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