June 23, 2024

SMECO Announces Second Solar Project

Posted for SMECO

SMECO opened a solar farm in Hughesville MD in 2012

SMECO opened a solar farm in Hughesville MD in 2012

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative has entered into a power purchase agreement with an affiliate of juwi solar Inc. (JSI) to develop, design and construct the 10.0-megawatt (MW) Rockfish Solar facility, SMECO’s second solar project in Southern Maryland.

JSI will construct and operate the facility through a wholly-owned subsidiary and SMECO will purchase all generated energy, capacity, and solar renewable energy credits for the next 20 years.

Pending approval from the Maryland Public Service Commission and local permitting, the solar farm is planned to be a 10-MW solar photovoltaic facility to be located on 80 acres in Charles County. JSI plans to employ the use of single axis tracking technology, and preliminary designs call for approximately 41,000 modules of solar panels. The project is scheduled to reach full commercial operation as early as the end of this year and is expected to generate roughly 21,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) during its first year of operation: enough to power about 1,300 homes annually. An average SMECO household uses 1,300 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a month and 15,600 kWh per year.

SMECO worked with the National Renewables Cooperative Organization (NRCO) to develop a request for proposals and evaluated about 30 submissions before selecting JSI, headquartered in Boulder, Colorado.

SMECO President and CEO Austin J. Slater, Jr. said,  “By working with NRCO and JSI, we are developing a project that will provide renewable energy right here in our service area, helping us to meet our regulatory requirements and to avoid costly transmission fees. Our customer-members will be glad to know that the cost of the energy provided by this solar project is very reasonable and will have a positive effect on customer rates.”

“We are incredibly excited to be working with SMECO and NRCO to provide clean, reliable solar power to SMECO customers in a cost-effective manner,” said Michael Martin, CEO of JSI. “We also eagerly anticipate breaking ground and completing our first utility-scale solar project in the state of Maryland.”

This project is the second solar project and fourth renewable project that NRCO has facilitated for SMECO. SMECO developed a 5.5-MW solar farm in Hughesville, Maryland, which has produced more than 10 million kWh since November 2012. The new solar project is expected to produce nearly twice as much energy as the Hughesville facility. SMECO also purchases the energy and environmental attributes of two wind projects located in Pennsylvania.

Purchasing solar energy is one way SMECO works to fulfill its renewable portfolio obligation, as required by the state, at the lowest costs to its members. Utilities are obligated to purchase .5 percent of their load from solar energy resources in 2015; that percentage increases each year until reaching two percent in 2020. Utilities that don’t purchase the required amount of solar energy must pay a penalty.

SMECO is a customer-owned electric cooperative, and proud to be among an elite group of 50 U.S. companies to be named a J.D. Power 2014 Customer Champion.

SMECO provides electricity to more than 156,000 services in southern Prince George’s County, and in Charles County, St. Mary’s County, and all but the northeast portion of Calvert County. Co-ops are distinctly different from investor-owned utilities because co-ops are owned by their customers, and these members elect the men and women who serve on the Board of Directors.

Co-ops also issue capital credits to their members. What are capital credits? They are the member’s share of the co-op’s margins, based on how much electricity the member purchased and the rate at which the account was billed. SMECO’s margins—revenue less expenses—are used as working capital for new construction and system improvements. When SMECO’s Board of Directors determines that a percentage of the capital credits can be distributed to members through a general refund, capital credits will be issued by check or credited to members’ electric bills.

JSI’s primary business is the development, design, construction, operation and maintenance of utility-scale (one MW and larger) solar energy generation facilities in North America.

 JSI is a privately-held solar energy generation company based in Boulder, Colorado. To date JSI has built large-scale solar projects in Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas, totaling more than 100 MW of operating capacity. JSI also provides operations, monitoring, and maintenance services customized for each solar facility and to each owner’s needs and is currently performing these services for 182 MW of solar facilities in the United States.

Leave A Comment