Renewable energy is a natural fit for U.S. farms as they look for additional ways to manage their land for generations of production. The Fritz Family Farms, LLC in New Windsor, Maryland recently partnered with Standard Solar, Inc., a leading solar energy company specializing in the development, funding and operations of solar electric systems nationwide, on a 2.7 megawatt (MW) solar array on 12 acres of their 400-acre grain, hay and cattle farm.

“This project provides economic benefit to the landowner, operator and community while harnessing clean renewable energy,” said Jeffrey Fritz, Fritz Family Farms, LLC. “We have been using our own solar energy in our operation since 2014 and felt this was an excellent opportunity to diversify our income.”

Standard Solar, teamed with a joint venture comprised of Earth and Air Technologies LLC and Ogos Energy LLC developed and built the single-axis tracking solar array that is configured for Maryland’s Virtual Aggregate Net Energy Metering (ANEM) program, facilitated through Maryland’s 2019 Clean Energy Jobs Act.

“This solar project is a win-win scenario for all—it is transforming a portion of low yield land into 20-year predictable revenue for a family-run farm while providing affordable, reliable power to the region’s public water authority,” said John Finnerty, Director of Business Development, Standard Solar. “It also highlights how smart solar project siting practices can benefit agriculture, complement farm operations and land use.”

Standard Solar financed and will own and operate the 7,336-panel high efficiency engineered project that is expected to produce approximately 4,000 MW hours (MWh) annually. The power will be purchased by WSSC Water, one of the largest water and wastewater utilities in the nation, contributing to its sustainability goals and adding value for their Maryland customers.

“Energy management is critical to WSSC Water,” said Robert Taylor, Energy Manager, WSSC Water. “Investing in solar energy pays dividends both economically and environmentally as it lowers our dependence on carbon-based fuels.”

WSSC Water has shared success with Standard Solar having worked together on more than 14 MW of solar PV now operational at their Western Branch Water Resource Recovery Facility in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, the Seneca Water Resource Recovery Facility in Germantown, Maryland and two additional off-site locations. Combined, the systems produce approximately 19,000 MWh of energy annually.