MDOT Solar Program
Increasing Renewable Energy at MDOT
The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) currently has five photovoltaic (PV) systems installed on its properties:
Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA)
1 at the Francis Scott Key Bridge
MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA)
1 at the BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport on top of the Daily Garage
MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MTA)
1 at Northwest Bus Facility
MDOT Maryland Port Administration (MPA)
2 at the Cruise Terminal and at Dundalk Shed 10
These total approximately 1.8 megawatts (MW). Additionally, MDOT has developed a new Solar Contract which will establish more PV systems across MDOT and the State of Maryland.
MDOT's Solar Energy Contract
Furthering the Department’s commitment to the environment and to using transportation dollars wisely, MDOT will run a number of its facilities throughout the State with solar power.
The Board of Public Works approved MDOT's Renewable Energy Master Contract at its February 7, 2018 meeting.
The program, one of the first of its kind by a state transportation agency in the country, is projected to generate 300 construction and 30 operations and maintenance jobs, with more positions added as solar power expands to other MDOT sites.
Through the bidding process, MDOT selected six Master Contractors who will compete to install solar PV systems on MDOT properties. The contractors include:
Abundant Solar Power
Solar projects will be by site as a project, or multiple sites bundled together as a project. A Task Order Request will be issued to the Master Contractors through secondary competition.
An award will be made to the Master Contractor making the most advantageous offer. The Master Contractor will construct, own, operate, and maintain the PV system infrastructure for the life of the system (20-25 years).
Once the PV systems are in place, MDOT will buy the power at a fixed rate. MDOT will not expend any capital funds to pay for the PV systems.
MDOT owns or controls more than 874 facilities, including buildings, parking garages, and parking lots that can be considered for PV system development.
MDOT recognizes the development of PV systems as an opportunity to further social, environmental, and economic benefits across MDOT and the State. The projects will:
Promote environmental goals such as Maryland’s greenhouse gas reduction goal of 40% by 2030 (SB0323), and Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 25% by 2020 with 2.5% solar carve-out (HB1106).
Promote social benefits by increasing access to clean energy for Maryland residents who are unable to install solar panels on their businesses and residences through community solar programs.
In addition, MDOT intends to install PV canopies in parking lots throughout the State, such as at MVA branch offices, Park and Rides, etc.
The PV canopies will enhance customer experience by providing shade and protection from adverse weather.
Promote economic goals through a price reduction in energy costs by awarding projects when solar energy produced is equal to or less than what MDOT currently pays for electricity through utilities.
This will result in a cost avoidance for MDOT and taxpayers.
The project will also support local jobs required for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the solar panels.
How Can You Use the Solar Contract
The RFP allows Maryland Counties, municipalities, instrumentalities of the State, and other non-State of Maryland governments or government agencies and not for profit 501 (c) (3) organizations within the State of Maryland to purchase the Contractors’ services covered by the Master Services Agreement (MSA).
All such purchases by instrumentalities of the State, non-State of Maryland governments, government agencies or not for profit organizations:
- Shall constitute MSA between the Contractor and that government, agency or organization;
- Shall not constitute purchases by the State or State agencies under this MSA;
- Shall not be binding or enforceable against the State; and
- May be subject to other terms and conditions agreed to by the Contractor and the purchaser. The Contractor bears the risk of determining whether a government, agency, or organization with which the Contractor is dealing is a State of Maryland agency. (Excerpt from the MDOT Renewable Energy Development RFP).
Solar Program FAQs
There are several potential benefits for solar in MDOT’s right-of-way.
- Land lease/license agreement – MDOT could receive money as payment for the installation on the property.
- Off-taker of energy – MDOT could receive renewable energy generated at a rate less than the current utility price for electricity.
- Off-taker of environmental benefits – MDOT could receive Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) and retire them to meet state GHG emission reduction targets.
- Sale of environmental benefits - Sell SRECs on the market for another entity to gain credits and gain revenue.
- Combinations of all the above (exception sale of SRECs cannot be combined with receiving credits to retire)
Solar energy generated is immediately measured and delivered to the utility grid. If MDOT decides to utilize the energy, the energy generated will be accounted for at selected MDOT-owned utility meters in the vicinity of the project through virtual net metering.
A solar credit, known as a Solar Renewable Energy Credit or SREC, represents the value of environmental benefit produced from solar electricity that can be sold for their monetary value.
SRECs are generated every time 1,000 kW of solar energy is generated. SRECs can be used to take credit for GHG reductions, or they can be sold for monetary benefit. MDOT analyzes the benefit of each solar installation project separately to determine if solar credits should be purchased.
SRECs are bought and sold in a market-based system. If the SREC is sold, the value is determined by the local demand. If MDOT receives monetary compensation for the SREC, the agency will not be able to claim credits towards GHG reductions.
One acre is a minimum site size target for a solar installation project. This parcel size will provide for a photovoltaic array of approximately 250kW of capacity. The larger the parcel the better in most circumstances as we can recognize an economy of scale. Solar may be installed on parcels smaller than one acre depending on the location and contractor interest.
The preferred size is four or more-acre parcels. The larger parcels result in an economy of scale and better energy price.
Maintenance is performed by the winning contractor. MDOT is not responsible for maintenance. It is in the solar developer’s best interest to keep the arrays at peak performance to maintain the cost benefits of selling the generated solar energy.
The developer must carry insurance through the term of the contract. Performance bonds will cover construction and decommissioning.
The Task Order for each site installation has a term of 20 years with a one-time 5-year extension option.
At the end of the contract the solar developer is required to remove all infrastructure and return the site to its original condition.
MDOT has the option for early termination. MDOT may buy the system outright from the developer at any time after the 5th year of the Task Order.
Sites with tree coverage are not optimal for solar installation projects and are less likely to be considered.
For contract documents or questions, contact:
Maryland Department of Transportation
7201 Corporate Center Drive, Hanover, MD 21076