Frederick County Receives $1.2 Million In Federal Funding For Microgrid For Prospect Center

It will provide power for the county’s vital services if electricity goes out.

County Executive Jessica Fitzwater                      Sens. Chris Van Hollen  (L) and Ben Cardin (R)

(Photos from The Frederick County Facebook page)

Frederick, Md (KM) A check totaling $1,275,000 in federal funding was presented to Frederick County officials on Monday. The money will pay for the installation of a solar-charged microgrid on the roof of the Prospect Center at 585 Himes Avenue in Frederick. The microgrid will consist of a solar array and a two-megawatt battery for storage.

County Executive Jessica Fitzwater say this microgrid will continue to supply electricity  to critical services during power outages.. “This means that in the event of severe weather, our critical services–such as our 911 Emergency Operations Center and our Information Technology Services–will have the ability to continue to serve county residents by using power from the microgrid powered by the  solar array and the battery backup.”

The county says the microgrid will consist of 4,850 modules which will cover 119,000 square feet of space on the roof of the Prospect Center. The microgrid will have  1,991 kilowatts of capacity and will generate 2.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year.

US Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen presented the check to the county. Cardin said the amount of money was a “big earmark.” “We get lots of requests, but this is a real commitment made by Frederick County to deal with an urgent issue. And that urgent issue is the fact that we are seeing the need for resiliency to deal the realities of climate,”: he says,.

Senator Van Hollen says Frederick County has scored a first. “This is, I understand, is the first of its kind in the state of Maryland. So congratulations  to Frederick County for leading the way,” he said to applause. “And I’m sure we’ll probably be hearing from other counties.”

The Prospect Center currently houses the Department of Facility Maintenance and the Office of Construction Inspection.  More agencies are expected to move into the center in the next two to three years, the county says in a news release. They will create a hub of resources for community residents.

Senators Cardin and Van Hollen were able to secure this Congressionally Directed Spending through the fiscal year 2024 funding legislation for the US Department of Homeland Security. The county says this microgrid will save the county money on utility bills and make the Prospect Center less vulnerable to power outages.

A groundbreaking on this project is expected next year.

Also on Monday, Senators Cardin and Van Hollen visited the Village of Burkitsville to announce a  federal investment of $385,000 in direct funding to upgrade the drainage  and stormwater infrastructure. This follows repeated flooding in the jurisdiction, including two recent 100-year floods which damaged homes and hurt local businesses. Those floods impacted the town’s Main Street.

By Kevin McManus