Pioneer Green Solar plans 150-MW project in Maryland; seeks PSC approval

Great Bay Solar I LLC (GBS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Pioneer Green Solar LLC, is proposing to develop a photovoltaic (PV) solar facility with a nominally rated capacity of up to 150 MW (ac), which is unusually large for Maryland or any state in the eastern U.S.

The company applied May 11 at the Maryland Public Service Commission for a certificate of public convenience and necessity on this project. The project will be constructed on up to approximately 1,000 acres of private land currently under lease or purchase option south of Princess Anne in Somerset County, Maryland. It will connect to the PJM Interconnection-operated grid at the existing Kings Creek substation, which is owned by Delmarva Power & Light, which on May 20 filed to intervene in this case.

GBS has a purchase option on the parcel immediately south of the Kings Creek Substation. GBS plans to build its substation on the southern portion of the parcel and connect to the Kings Creek Substation via a short (less than 500 feet) 138-kV generation tie line.

Somerset County is the southern-most county in Maryland. It is bound by the Chesapeake Bay to the south and west, Wicomico County to the north, Worchester County to the east, and the state of Virginia to the southeast. Princess Anne, the county seat, is located immediately northwest of the project site. Pocomoke City is approximately five miles to the southeast. Salisbury is approximately 10 miles north and Crisfield is approximately 12 miles south.

The project would consist of the following components:

  • A solar field of PV panels mounted on fixed or tracking structures;
  • An electrical collection system that will aggregate the output from the PV panels and converts the electricity 
from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) via inverters;
  • A substation where the facility’s electrical output voltage will be combined and its voltage increased to the 
transmission line voltage of 138 kV via step-up transformers;
  • A generation tie line (gen-tie) facility approximately 500’ in length that will connect project facilities to the 
designated point of interconnection (POI) at the Kings Creek substation;
  • Internal infrastructure including roads, fencing, and communications infrastructure; and
  • Temporary laydown areas for equipment storage during construction. 

GBS said it has already started the preliminary engineering and design, and final design and equipment procurement contracts will be completed by February 2016. Construction of the project, pending regulatory approval, will start as early as March 2016 and will take 6-9 months from initial grading to project energization. The project is scheduled to begin operation by the end of 2016 and will likely operate for a minimum of 25 years. Land control agreements allow for operation for up to 40 years.

Developer says this $225 million project will help meet renewable energy goals

Said the application: “The proposed Project represents a significant capital investment in the State and local economy. At the full 150 MW size, the Project is expected to cost more than $225,000,000 to install, representing a significant increase in the Somerset County property tax base. In the 2014-2015 tax year, Somerset County raised less than $14,000,000 in combined property and real estate taxes from an assessable property tax base of just under $65,000,000 and a real estate tax base of approximately $1,351,000,000. At its full size, the Project would pay approximately $2,500,000 in direct property taxes in the first year.

“Construction of the Project will also require hundreds of laborers, craftsmen, supervisory personnel, support personnel, and construction management personnel who will reside in the local community over a period of 6 to 9 months. The spending by this large workforce will result in a significant positive economic impact on the region. In addition to the significant annual increase to the County’s tax base, operation of the Project will also create dozens of permanent local jobs and positive economic impact.

“The Project will also contribute to the overall compliance with the State’s RPS law which mandates that as of December 31, 2011, a renewable energy source such as solar is eligible for meeting the RPS provided that it is connected with an electric distribution grid such as the PJM Electricity Grid. Through its interconnection with the Delmarva Power and Light system, the Project will become connected to and part of the PJM system.”

Contact information is: Great Bay Solar I LLC, 1802 Lavaca St., Suite 200, Austin, TX 78701.

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.