Centreville talks so­lar ar­rays, fees

Record Observer - - News - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

CENTREVILLE — As the Centreville Town Coun­cil waited to vote on an or­di­nance that would al­low the in­stal­la­tion of ground-mounted so­lar ar­ray sys­tems, the town coun­cil dis­cussed with Zon­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tor John Fury dur­ing its Thurs­day, July 7, meet­ing the fee struc­ture to be associated with such a so­lar sys­tem.

With the Queen Anne’s County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion at­tempt­ing to in­stall 1,350 pan­els at Centreville Mid­dle School and 7,146 pan­els at Queen Anne’s County High School, the town coun­cil drafted Or­di­nance 062016 which would al­low a ground- or bal­last-mounted “so­lar col­lec­tion sys­tem” by a spe­cial ex­cep­tion through the Board of Ap­peals. The to­tal es­ti­mated value of the mid­dle school project is $566,000 and is $2.9 mil­lion for the high school, Fury said.

Af­ter re­search­ing Queen Anne’s, Anne Arun­del and Kent coun­ties, Fury pre­sented three op­tions for fee sched­ul­ing: charge a flat fee based on the num­ber of ar­rays, use an es­ti­mated value of a to­tal project based on a slid­ing scale, or charge per kilo­watt hour.

Fury said if a 600-plus ar­ray sys­tem were in­stalled in Queen Anne’s County, a flat fee of $2,500 would be charged. That same sys­tem in Anne Arun­del County, Fury said, would cre­ate fees in ex­cess of $20,000 based on the to­tal value of the project.

The to­tal foot­print of the pan­els would be 39,000 square feet at the mid­dle school and 147,783 square feet at the high school, Fury said.

From a plan­ning and zon­ing stand­point, Fury said the build­ing in­spec­tions will be com­pa­ra­ble to a larger com­mer­cial build­ing in terms of man hours spent in­spect­ing.

Of the three method­olo­gies sug­gested by Fury, Town Coun­cil­man Jim Beauchamp said he be­lieved Kent County’s charge per kilo­watt hour was the most sus­tain­able way to eval­u­ate the fee.

“Who knows, in a cou­ple of years a panel this big may put out what mon­sters put out now,” Beauchamp said. “But if we go by rated ca­pac­ity that will stay as a con­stant re­la­tion­ship to the user’s value they’re go­ing to get out of it.”

Town Coun­cil Vice Pres­i­dent Tim McCluskey, who said he be­lieves the town will re­ceive more re­quests for build­ing ar­ray per­mits than ground-mounted per­mits, had no prob­lem charg­ing a higher fee. “It’s all about what does it look like from a long-term stand­point,” he said.

If the so­lar ar­ray or­di­nance were to pass — it’s avail­able to be voted on dur­ing the town’s Thurs­day, Aug. 4, meet­ing — in­ter­ested par­ties would need a spe­cial ex­cep­tion from the Board of Ap­peals. Other re­quire­ments in­clude pro­vid­ing site plans, demon­strat­ing a stormwa­ter sys­tem within all county and state re­quire­ments, mit­i­gat­ing any for­est re­moved dur­ing con­struc­tion, pro­vid­ing a de­tailed land­scape plan of the area and show­ing all so­lar ar­rays con­form to lo­cal, state and na­tional codes.

Once con­structed, the or­di­nance states that any clean­ing fluid needed for the so­lar pan­els be biodegrad­able; bro­ken pan­els be re­moved from the site within 60 days; and a main­te­nance agree­ment to re­place plant­ings and vi­a­bil­ity of the land­scaped buf­fer be pro­vided.

To re­move an aban­doned so­lar panel or piece of equip­ment, the Board of Ap­peals will de­ter­mine a bond amount re­quired to as­sure re­moval. The or­di­nance con­sid­ers any “so­lar en­ergy power gen­er­at­ing sys­tem” that isn’t run­ning con­tin­u­ously for 12 months as un­used and in lines for re­moval, though the Board of Ap­peals has the power to grant an ex­ten­sion. Par­ties re­mov­ing equip­ment must no­tify the town and are re­quired to re­store the prop­erty to its orig­i­nal con­di­tion, the pro­posed or­di­nance states.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

Centreville Zon­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tor John Fury speaks to the town coun­cil about var­i­ous meth­ods of fee sched­ul­ing for ground mounted so­lar ar­rays.

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