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Solar Farms Initiative

Division: Facilities Management

OverviewOutreach Strategy | Calendar and Meeting Notes | Contact Us

Project Overview

The Planning Board unanimously approved this initiative to build a 5-10 acre solar farm in South Germantown Recreational and Rock Creek Regional Parks on Thursday, March 12, 2015. – Planning Board memo: – agenda item #9 (PDF) – powerpoint presentation (PDF, 1.6MB)

Background

A solar farm is an area of land where a large number of solar panels are set up to generate energy. The solar panels create power that can be sold into the utility grid and offset the cost of our energy usage and benefiting the environment as fewer fossil fuels are burned to create the electricity.

Installing solar farms in our parks would be consistent with Montgomery County’s Energy Initiatives and Carbon Reduction Goals as well as the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s (M-NCPPC) mission statement in regards to the stewardship of natural resources.

The solar farms would reduce Montgomery Park’s carbon footprint and dependence on foreign oil and reliance on environmentally damaging extractive techniques for coal, oil and gas. They could also produce over 2 Megawatts per year which is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 300 automobiles. The reduction of the Department’s energy consumption would be equivalent to 1,500 metric tons of carbon per year.

The project would be implemented through a Power Purchase Agreement for a period of 15-20 years. Upon conclusion of the agreement and removal of the solar panels, it is anticipated these sites will be reforested to enhance adjacent forested parkland.

Analysis of Potential Sites

Montgomery Park’s Facilities Management and Park Planning and Stewardship Divisions have conducted a site selection study, analyzing over one hundred potential park properties in the Pepco and the Potomac Edison Service areas.

Excluded from consideration were any sites where the solar farms would displace existing or future planned park uses, remove forest, or impact sensitive buffer areas. Conservation Parks, Stream Valley Parks and Neighborhood Parks were generally excluded.

Proposed Sites

Staff recommended two sites. One within South Germantown Recreational Park in the Pepco Service Area, the other in Rock Creek Regional Park in the Potomac Edison Service Area.

  • South Germantown Recreational Park (SGRP) – Maintenance Yard Area
    The proposed area is an open field west of the park maintenance yard. The site is visually buffered from the adjacent properties and park road.While recreational facilities are not planned for this area, the solar farm could provide an opportunity for the public to learn about alternative energy.
  • Rock Creek Regional Park – Dredge Spoils Site
    If entering from the park from Muncaster Rd. onto Needwood Rd., the proposed five to six-acre site is on the left (southeast) side of Needwood Road, just below the Intercounty Connector overpass. The available acreage is an open fallow field with moderate topography and no environmental constraints. There are no private residences adjacent to the site. This area is used to stockpile dredging spoils from Lake Needwood for ongoing water quality restoration projects. The proposed solar farm would provide an interim use for the land and would not conflict with the current use.

Outreach Strategy

Have your voice heard!
Staff relied on this web page to keep citizens updated on the project progress. Interested citizens and civic groups were encouraged to comment online (PDF, 260K), attend Public Meetings, contact the project coordinator directly, or sign-up for our email lists. For those interested in the plan who do not have e-mail, information will be mailed and press releases will be used to publicized plan meetings.

Calendar and Meeting Notes

This calendar summarizes the public process for this site selection initiative.

DATE | TIME EVENTS & MEETING NOTES LOCATION
2014  
Spring – Winter Staff Research and Evaluation
2015  
February 9 Upcounty Citizens Advisory Board Public Meeting
– powerpoint presentation (PDF, 1.4MB)
Sidney Kramer Upcounty Regional Services Center*
12900 Middlebrook Road, Conference Room A
Germantown, Maryland 20874
* The Service Center is located at the intersection of Middlebrook Road and Route 118 adjacent to the Germantown Commons Shops. All UCAB and committee meetings are open to the public.
March 5 RESCHEDULED – M-NCPPC Montgomery County Planning Board Meeting
March 12 Planning Board presentation – APPROVED – agenda item #9 
– powerpoint presentation (PDF, 1.6MB)
– online comments page – closed. Submit additional comments directly to the Project Coordinator
Montgomery Regional Office (MRO) Auditorium 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910

** The Planning Board’s Agenda is subject to change and certain items may be postponed or added. For meeting updates or to view the Planning Board proceedings live on our website, visit MontgomeryPlanningBoard.org. To testify on an agenda item, sign-up online or call 301-495-4605 before 4:00 p.m. day before the meeting. On the day of the meeting, please see the Clerk in the Board Auditorium to sign-up.

Spring Request For Proposals (RFP) review.
TBD Construction Phase

Media Center

This is where you will find links to press releases, print articles, videos and community links about this project.

Media Releases
  • JANUARY 27, 2015 – MEDIA RELEASE: Montgomery Parks to Present Proposal on Solar Farms Initiative for Two Park Sites in the Northern Region
  • MARCH 5, 2015 – MEDIA RELEASE: Montgomery Parks to Present Solar Initiative Proposal to Montgomery County Planning Board on March 5, 2015
Online Articles
  • FEBRUARY 4, 2015 – ONLINE ARTICLE: Gazette.net – Parks Department proposes solar arrays for sites in Germantown and Derwood
  • FEBRUARY 9, 2015 – ONLINE ARTICLE: mymcmedia.org – Public Meeting for Solar Farms in Parks
  • FEBRUARY 11, 2015 – ONLINE ARTICLE: Gazette.net – Solar arrays in Germantown, Derwood parks would be built and operated by third party
  • FEBRUARY 27, 2015 – ONLINE ARTICLE: mymcmedia.org – Solar Arrays Proposed for County Parks in Germantown, Rockville
  • MARCH 12, 2015 – ONLINE ARTICLE: mymcmedia.org – The Planning Board Approves Solar Arrays For County Parks in Germantown, Rockville

Contact Us

If you would like additional information on this project, please contact;

Dominic Quattrocchi, AICP
Project Coordinator, Park Planning and Stewardship Section
dominic.quattrocchi@montgomeryparks.org | 301-650-4361

Last Updated: September 27, 2018