Nation's Largest Community Solar Project Coming to Gaithersburg

Industry Observer with Retired

Nation's Largest Community Solar Project Coming to Gaithersburg

The nation’s largest community solar farm, to be 100 percent dedicated to low-and moderate-income (LMI) residents, is coming to Montgomery County. The project’s partners, along with Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and other County representatives, launched the project’s subscription campaign earlier this week.

Through the subscription program for the new project, County residents who are Pepco customers and who qualify as LMI are eligible to receive 25 percent savings on their electricity costs every month.

“It should not be a surprise to anyone that Montgomery County is creating the nation’s largest community solar farm that will create energy directed to low- and moderate-income residents,” said County Executive Elrich. “Our Climate Action Plan calls for us to eliminate 100 percent of carbon emission by 2035, and it is projects like solar farms that will help us obtain this goal. I am very thankful to Neighborhood Sun and Ameresco, Inc for helping us create this community solar farm. And I am proud of the work of the Department of General Services for delivering another solar project in Montgomery County, with 18 completed now and four under construction. This project is not only what is good for the environment, but it also serves Montgomery County families who need help with their energy costs as well.”

Ameresco, Inc., a leading cleantech integrator specializing in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and Neighborhood Sun, a community solar company making solar accessible to everyone, in partnership with Montgomery County, announced details of the first-of-its-kind solar farm bringing clean energy to thousands of Marylanders. Community solar farms enable access to affordable, clean energy for residents who are unable to build their own solar systems. Anyone who receives an electric bill can benefit, including renters, residents in multi-unit buildings, municipalities, nonprofits and businesses that do not own their roofs. Subscriptions are now available.

The solar array will be sited on the capped Oaks Landfill in Gaithersburg, transforming underutilized land into an environmental asset that brings local jobs and clean, renewable energy. The project, a total of six megawatts (MW), is divided into three arrays of two MW, and will generate approximately 11.7 million kilowatt hours annually.

Array 1 is for use by the County and under a power purchase agreement, providing the County Government clean, renewable energy at no upfront cost. Arrays 2 and 3, each with two MW, will be the community solar project with 100 percent of the generated electricity provided to low-to-moderate income residents.

“The equitable and just deployment of renewable energy in the U.S. is critical to expanding our clean energy economy and addressing environmental injustice,” said Gary Skulnik, CEO of Neighborhood Sun. “As a Montgomery County business, we are especially pleased with the County’s support for expanding energy access into underserved communities. This project blows away by an order of magnitude any other 100-percent LMI project in the state of Maryland and is a testament to Neighborhood Sun’s leading role in bringing energy justice to the state.”

Project construction is expected to begin in early 2022.

“This project provides not only energy cost savings to the County and its participating low- to moderate-income residents, but also leverages the use of an underutilized land asset that will produce revenue for the County, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to its carbon neutrality goal,” said Ameresco Senior Vice President Jon Mancini. “Through this initiative, the County will demonstrate continued commitment to sustainability that will deliver economic and environmental benefits to the Montgomery County Community for many years to come.”

The project received a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration.

“The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) was pleased to provide for this project over $950,000 in grant funding through MEA's Low- to Moderate-Income Community Solar Program, which provides incentives to reduce the cost of electricity generated from clean energy to Marylander's, with income limitations that result in energy costs being a disproportionate portion of their household expenses,” said Mary Beth Tung, director of MEA.

Maryland-based Neighborhood Sun currently manages nearly 80 MW of community solar projects, enough solar to power more than 10,000 homes.

This is a Montgomery County, Maryland announcement.


No photo description available.

Marigold, Kentlands Photowalk, Gaithersburg, Maryland USA IMG 5552
Canon PowerShot G11 Camera
Photograph by Roy Kelley
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs
Posted by

Roy Kelley, Retired, Former Associate Broker, RE/MAX Realty Group

Gaithersburg, Maryland  

Comments (15)

Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em:

Such a wonderful program too bad it all has to be so political. Well the long weekend is over, now to start it all back up.  Make today the most productive Monday you can.  Thanks again for the post, enjoyed it. bill 

Nov 29, 2021 05:01 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Roy. Babcock Ranch in Charlotte County Florida is entirely solar powered. Most of the 91,000 acres are to remain natural with 16,000 acres used for development. They had an advantage of starting from scratch. Great program for Maryland! Enjoy your day.

Nov 29, 2021 05:05 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

I heard about this just this morning Roy Kelley . I hope it works out for all. Sometimes these alternative enery projucts end up with a negative gain.

Nov 29, 2021 05:45 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Roy - I remember reading about the community Wayne Martin mentioned in his comment even though I couldn't recall the details.  Kinda like the trivia questions and answers he provides us each day.  Reminders definitely help.  


As far as community-based solar projects, it is interesting to see how we continue to address energy in the world.  Sometimes it's in our own "backyard" as well as on a more global level.  

Nov 29, 2021 06:01 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


The majority of wineries in the Napa Valley are run on solar power.  They make a profit selling power to the electric company.  We have friends who live in Sonoma County and their home is on solar, and they also sell the excess to the power company.  I love the concept.  A

Nov 29, 2021 06:22 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Roy, sounds like a good project to help with our growing problem of energy.

Nov 29, 2021 06:37 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Hi Roy... we have a few solar farms here in the Charlotte region... can't say I've heard much about their popularity or effectiveness.

Nov 29, 2021 06:39 AM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great information.  Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day!

Nov 29, 2021 07:10 AM
Tony Busanich
TD Bank - Freehold, NJ

Thanks Roy for sharing and have a wonderful day! Wish you all the best. 

Nov 29, 2021 07:51 AM
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo and Home Specialists

Roy, It certainly will be interesting to see how this plan is accepted and effective in in Gaitersburg and other parts of the country.

Nov 29, 2021 08:22 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Roy Consumers are getting better at lowering their carbon footprint.  Add to that the growing use of alternative energy sources and we may someday get a handle on this!

Nov 29, 2021 06:26 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for your feedback. It is always good to hear from you.

Nov 30, 2021 09:26 AM