Developer pursues Maryland approval for 6-MW solar farm

Church Hill Solar Farm LLC is seeking Maryland Public Service Commission approval for a 6-MW (AC) solar photovoltaic project in Church Hill, Md., adjacent to the Price Substation owned by Delmarva Power and Light.

An application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the project was filed on Jan. 12 and was still pending as of May 23. The company has made various supplemental filings with the commission since the initial application.

Total generating capacity for the project is anticipated to be 6 MW nominal. Interconnection will be at the adjacent Delmarva Price Substation on a 25-Kv distribution circuit. The project will consist of approximately 25,000 PV modules (solar panels) supported on fixed tilt support frames.

As for the reasons for the project, the application said: “The State of Maryland has enacted aggressive legal and policy standards in pursuit of more renewable energy generation within its borders. The State’s goals and commitment are clear and widely considered to be some of the most aggressive in the United States. Indeed, Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) mandates that 20% of Maryland’s electricity be generated from renewable energy sources by 2022, which must include at least 2% solar energy. The RPS solar energy requirement increases each year from now until 2022 and the solar set-aside alone is projected to result in the need for at least 1,250 MW of solar capacity by 2022. Yet the State currently has approximately 60 MWs of solar generation on the grid.”

Church Hill said the project will cost about $19m to build and will create some 45 construction jobs.

The feasibility phase of the interconnection request was submitted to PJM Interconnection in October 2011 and was completed by PJM in February 2012. The project was granted queue position X3-066.

Haydn Cutler of LightSky Energy LLC testified that Church Hill Solar Farm LLC is a special purpose entity organized in 2012. It is owned by abakus solar USA and LightSky Energy. LightSky, headquartered in Annapolis, Md., is in the business of developing solar power generation facilities and infrastructure projects.

Also, on May 23, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accepted a filing by PJM of an executed Wholesale Market Participation Agreement entered into among PJM, Church Hill Solar Farm and Delmarva Power and Light. PJM stated that it is submitting this agreement for filing because Church Hill intends to engage in wholesale sales in the PJM markets from a generating facility connected to DPL distribution facilities.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.