News Release, Nautilus Solar Energy, LLP
SUMMIT, NEW JERSEY – Nautilus Solar Energy LLC (“Nautilus” or “NSE”), a leading community solar operator, announced the ribbon cutting and operation of a 6.6 megawatt (MW) community solar project located on the former Panorama landfill site in Fort Washington, MD. The Panorama community solar project is the largest operating residential community solar farm in Maryland. The project is qualified under the Maryland Community Solar Energy Generating System program will and produce enough energy to power 1,100 homes in the region.
The Maryland Community Solar Energy Generating System program, enacted in 2015 and administered by the Maryland Public Service Commission, focuses on providing renewable energy benefits and reducing costs for local market residents. On May 13, 2019, the state of Maryland passed HB683 which extended the community solar market through 2022, furthering its support of clean and affordable energy for state constituents.
The Panorama community solar project is constructed on a former Tier 3 landfill that has been dormant for over 10 years. What was an otherwise unusable site has now been reclaimed for a future of clean, renewable energy production. The four solar arrays incorporate over 19,000 ground-mounted fixed-tilt solar panels and the system will produce over 9.2 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) in the first year of operation and 257 million kWh over its lifetime, which is equivalent to the carbon replacement of 8,065 acres forest land. The energy generated by the projects will directly benefit qualified residential off-takers who are situated within PEPCO’s Maryland’s service territory.
“We are excited to expand into Maryland’s community solar marketplace, which furthers our goal of becoming one of the leading community solar project owners with an expertise in the most active community solar markets across the US,” said Jeffrey Cheng, President of NSE. Nautilus is also working on similar projects in Howard County, Baltimore County, Cecil County, Prince George County, and Washington County to begin by early 2020.
Many partners were critical to the successful development and construction of the Panorama community solar project. NSE is responsible for the project management, long-term asset management, and maintenance services for the life of the project, while Virgo Investment Group retains ownership of the portfolio. Designed by Dewberry Engineers and installed by SolAmerica Energy, the project was originally co-developed by Summit Ridge Energy and SynerGen Solar. The project is 100% subscribed by residential customers through a partnership with Neighborhood Sun.
Community solar refers to local solar facilities shared by multiple community subscribers who receive credits on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced. Community solar is unique because it offers a hassle-free way for subscribers, no matter their income level or housing situation, to adopt solar energy by subscribing to a local project. Homeowners, renters, and businesses who had previously been unable to participate in solar energy due to their own site constraints can now enroll with zero upfront cost and without the need to install a system on their home or business.
Community solar expands access to solar for all and has become the fastest-growing segment of the solar market with over 1 gigawatt (GW) of installed capacity throughout the United States. Today, 19 states and the District of Columbia allow for community solar programs, creating thousands of jobs and spurring local economic investments in those states.