Renewable energy is a natural fit for U.S. farms as they look for additional ways to manage their land for generations of production. The Fritz Family Farms, LLC in New Windsor, Maryland recently partnered with Standard Solar, Inc., a leading solar energy company specializing in the development, funding and operations of solar electric systems nationwide, on a 2.7 megawatt (MW) solar array on 12 acres of their 400-acre grain, hay and cattle farm.
Jeffrey Fritz, Fritz Family Farms, LLC commented that, the project provided economic benefit to the landowner, operator and community while harnessing clean renewable energy. They had been using their own solar energy in the operation since 2014 and felt that was an excellent opportunity to diversify their income.
Standard Solar, teamed with a joint venture comprised of Earth and Air Technologies LLC and Ogos Energy LLC developed and built the single-axis tracking solar array that is configured for Maryland’s Virtual Aggregate Net Energy Metering (ANEM) program, facilitated through Maryland’s 2019 Clean Energy Jobs Act.
John Finnerty, Director of Business Development, Standard Solar stated that, the solar project was a win-win scenario for all— as was is transforming a portion of low yield land into 20-year predictable revenue for a family-run farm while providing affordable, reliable power to the region’s public water authority.It also highlighted how smart solar project siting practices could benefit agriculture, complement farm operations and land use.
Standard Solar financed and will own and operate the 7,336-panel high efficiency engineered project that is expected to produce approximately 4,000 MW hours (MWh) annually. The power will be purchased by WSSC Water, one of the largest water and wastewater utilities in the nation, contributing to its sustainability goals and adding value for their Maryland customers.
Energy management was critical to WSSC Water, stated Robert Taylor, Energy Manager, WSSC Water. He also added that, investing in solar energy paid dividends both economically and environmentally as it lowered their dependence on carbon-based fuels.
WSSC Water has shared success with Standard Solar having worked together on more than 14 MW of solar PV now operational at their Western Branch Water Resource Recovery Facility in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, the Seneca Water Resource Recovery Facility in Germantown, Maryland and two additional off-site locations. Combined, the systems produce approximately 19,000 MWh of energy annually.