Holcim proposes solar array to provide energy for its Hagerstown cement plant

Kerry Clines

September 8, 2017

Solar Energy SystemHolcim US Inc. is proposing the construction of a 10-megawatt solar energy-generating system on a 120-acre section of its property just south of Antietam Creek near its cement plant east of Hagerstown, Md., Herald Mail-Media reports. NRG Solar Hagerstown LLC, a subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc., will lease the site for 35 years and build the array to supply power for the cement plant, which was recently modernized to meet and exceed state and federal environmental regulations by reducing nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 60 percent and sulfur dioxide output by approximately 50 percent, according to an email from Plant Manager Olivier Terver to the news agency.

The solar project, which would reduce strain on the local power grid by providing up to 20 percent of the plant’s annual power needs, is part of LafargeHolcim‘s continuing modernization efforts at the plant to reduce its environmental footprint and “support our goals to create a more sustainable construction industry,” Terver told the news agency. According to the zoning application, the project is expected to provide renewable energy to the plant for at least 20 years.

“We’re very excited to be working with Holcim on what will be NRG’s first solar project in the state of Maryland,” said NRG spokesman Erik Linden in an email to the news agency. “We’re hoping to break ground in the second quarter of 2018.”

The proposal for a special exception to establish the solar-energy system will go before the Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals, as the property is currently zone agriculture (rural) with a mineral overlay. The proposal states each array would be secured by a 7-foot fence topped with security wire and a minimum 25-foot setback with vegetative plantings that will reach at least 10 feet at maturity around the west and south sides of the project to hide it from view by residents nearby. 

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Construction is expected to take up to five months and include approximately 10 trucks per day accessing the site over a three-week period. The project is under the Maryland Public Service Commission’s jurisdiction.

 

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