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Solar Project

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OPINION
September 20, 2011
The sizable solar project near the Maryland state prisons south of Hagerstown all but seems to be a forgone conclusion at this point. If ever skids have been greased, this would appear to be the situation of late. The 100,000-panel, 250-acre project is passing review after review as it strives to be operational in 2012. On one hand, it might be a good lesson for government that "it can be done. " How many private projects have become hopelessly mired in red tape and indifference, as government treats business with all the urgency of estate planning for a teenager?
NEWS
By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com | July 13, 2011
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.
NEWS
By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com | December 1, 2011
FirstEnergy Solutions has signed a 20-year agreement to buy power from a large solar-generating facility to be built south of Hagerstown, a move critical to the project's success, an official with the solar project said Thursday. The solar project probably would not have moved forward without the purchase power agreement, said D. Bruce Poole, a local attorney representing Maryland Solar LLC. Financing for the project is contingent on the venture's success, he said. If the purchase power agreement had not occurred, it would have put a "major stick in the wheel," Poole said.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | June 19, 2012
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.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | October 11, 2011
Work can begin on a large solar-panel farm in Washington County after state approval for the project became official this week. No one appealed last month's preliminary ruling by state Hearing Examiner Dennis Sober, so his order is final, according to a Maryland Public Service Commission memorandum dated Tuesday. Maryland Solar LLC probably will start building by the end of the year,  D. Bruce Poole, an attorney representing the company, said Tuesday. Maryland Solar plans to place at least 100,000 photovoltaic cells on a state prison complex south of Hagerstown.
NEWS
By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com | May 4, 2012
Washington County is finalizing a deal with a solar power company that could make county government one of the first in the United States to generate all the power it uses on its own property, County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said this week. Under the proposed agreement, the Chevy Chase, Md., company EPG Solar would install solar panels at the county's Forty West and Resh Road landfills, EPG Solar owner Robert Babcock confirmed Friday. The county would lease the land to EPG Solar, which would then build the solar array and sell the power it generates back to the county, Babcock said.
BUSINESS
September 30, 2012
FirstEnergy AKRON, Ohio - For the ninth time in the past 11 years, Site Selection magazine named FirstEnergy Corp. one of the top utilities in the country for promoting economic development. In 2011, the company helped attract more than $1.7 billion in capital investment to its Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia and Maryland service areas, which is expected to create more than 7,400 new jobs. The designation recognizes utility companies that complement reliable power delivery to their customers with a hands-on approach to encouraging business development in their operational areas.
NEWS
By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com | August 24, 2011
James M. Devine said during a public hearing Wednesday night that he was “somewhat (in) opposition” to a proposed solar farm at the state prison complex south of Hagerstown. The Hagerstown-area resident aired several concerns about the project, including that the 125 jobs associated with it would only be temporary and would not do a lot to help the unemployment situation in Washington County. Devine said he also questioned what taxpayers would get out of the project. Devine was among a handful of people who spoke during the hearing led by county Hearing Examiner Dennis Sober at Hagerstown Community College.
BREAKINGNEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | July 27, 2011
The Maryland Board of Public Works voted 2-1 Wednesday to lease land at a prison complex near Hagerstown to a company planning a $70 million solar farm. The board - made up of Gov. Martin O'Malley, Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp - had to approve the lease for the project to move ahead. The project still needs the approval of the Maryland Public Service Commission, which has scheduled a hearing for Aug. 18 in Baltimore. Franchot questioned the lease proposal, particularly why the state didn't try to share a $24 million federal grant the project would get. However, states aren't allowed to receive credits under that federal program, Raquel Guillory, a spokesman for O'Malley, wrote in an email after the meeting.
BREAKINGNEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | July 24, 2011
Maryland State Sen. Christopher B. Shank wants the state to renegotiate a proposed lease for a company to build a $70 million solar farm on prison land near Hagerstown. His complaint is the lease price: $128 an acre per year, which he says is insufficient. The state Board of Public Works is scheduled to consider the proposed lease Wednesday, but Shank, R-Washington, wrote a letter Friday to Gov. Martin O'Malley requesting that the discussion be tabled. Shank's letter says he doesn't oppose the project, but indicated that governments elsewhere have received higher lease prices and charged additional fees based on the generation of energy from the project.
ARTICLES BY DATE
BUSINESS
September 30, 2012
FirstEnergy AKRON, Ohio - For the ninth time in the past 11 years, Site Selection magazine named FirstEnergy Corp. one of the top utilities in the country for promoting economic development. In 2011, the company helped attract more than $1.7 billion in capital investment to its Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia and Maryland service areas, which is expected to create more than 7,400 new jobs. The designation recognizes utility companies that complement reliable power delivery to their customers with a hands-on approach to encouraging business development in their operational areas.
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NEWS
By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com | July 7, 2012
Under a broiling sun, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley joined a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday for what will be the largest solar power array in the state - and one of the biggest on the East Coast - when it is completed later this year. The 100-degree temperature was “a reminder from Mother Nature that the sun is our most abundant resource,” O'Malley told an audience of about 100 guests sitting inside an air-conditioned tent before the ceremony. Maryland has set a goal to produce 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources - solar, wind and geothermal - by 2022, O'Malley said.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | June 19, 2012
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.
NEWS
By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com | May 4, 2012
Washington County is finalizing a deal with a solar power company that could make county government one of the first in the United States to generate all the power it uses on its own property, County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said this week. Under the proposed agreement, the Chevy Chase, Md., company EPG Solar would install solar panels at the county's Forty West and Resh Road landfills, EPG Solar owner Robert Babcock confirmed Friday. The county would lease the land to EPG Solar, which would then build the solar array and sell the power it generates back to the county, Babcock said.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | February 24, 2012
Dissatisfied with last year's solar-farm agreement for state prison land, state Sen. Christopher B. Shank is pressing to change the lease process. In July 2011, the Maryland Board of Public Works voted to lease 250 acres at the prison complex south of Hagerstown to Maryland Solar LLC for about $32,000 a year to start. The rent would rise 3 percent in year four of the 20-year lease, then every other year after that. Shank maintains that the state could have done much better.
NEWS
By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com | December 1, 2011
FirstEnergy Solutions has signed a 20-year agreement to buy power from a large solar-generating facility to be built south of Hagerstown, a move critical to the project's success, an official with the solar project said Thursday. The solar project probably would not have moved forward without the purchase power agreement, said D. Bruce Poole, a local attorney representing Maryland Solar LLC. Financing for the project is contingent on the venture's success, he said. If the purchase power agreement had not occurred, it would have put a "major stick in the wheel," Poole said.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | November 2, 2011
The solar farm being built at the state prison system south of Hagerstown will have 175,000 panels on about 160 acres, an official with the solar company said Wednesday. The $70 million project will generate about 20 megawatts of electricity at peak, enough to power about 2,250 average homes. And it will move Maryland one step toward its mandate of having 20 percent of its electricity generated by renewable energy sources by 2022. Gov. Martin O'Malley's StateStat website says the state is at 27 percent of its 2022 goal.
NEWS
By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com | October 11, 2011
Work can begin on a large solar-panel farm in Washington County after state approval for the project became official this week. No one appealed last month's preliminary ruling by state Hearing Examiner Dennis Sober, so his order is final, according to a Maryland Public Service Commission memorandum dated Tuesday. Maryland Solar LLC probably will start building by the end of the year,  D. Bruce Poole, an attorney representing the company, said Tuesday. Maryland Solar plans to place at least 100,000 photovoltaic cells on a state prison complex south of Hagerstown.
OPINION
September 20, 2011
The sizable solar project near the Maryland state prisons south of Hagerstown all but seems to be a forgone conclusion at this point. If ever skids have been greased, this would appear to be the situation of late. The 100,000-panel, 250-acre project is passing review after review as it strives to be operational in 2012. On one hand, it might be a good lesson for government that "it can be done. " How many private projects have become hopelessly mired in red tape and indifference, as government treats business with all the urgency of estate planning for a teenager?
NEWS
By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com | August 24, 2011
James M. Devine said during a public hearing Wednesday night that he was “somewhat (in) opposition” to a proposed solar farm at the state prison complex south of Hagerstown. The Hagerstown-area resident aired several concerns about the project, including that the 125 jobs associated with it would only be temporary and would not do a lot to help the unemployment situation in Washington County. Devine said he also questioned what taxpayers would get out of the project. Devine was among a handful of people who spoke during the hearing led by county Hearing Examiner Dennis Sober at Hagerstown Community College.
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