GREENBELT— In an effort to help protect the environment, the Mayor and City Council unanimously voted to move forward with finding a company to install solar parking canopies throughout the city. The City’s Green Team learned of a Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) grant opportunity that would allow city commercial property owners with large parking lots […]
GREENBELT— In an effort to help protect the environment, the Mayor and City Council unanimously voted to move forward with finding a company to install solar parking canopies throughout the city.
The City’s Green Team learned of a Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) grant opportunity that would allow city commercial property owners with large parking lots to install solar canopy structures with electric vehicle charging stations at no cost to the property owner. The canopies would provide a charging space for up to four electric vehicles.
According to a notice sent by the MEA, the department will provide up to $500 per kilowatt each canopy installed per project, with a cap of $250,000 per project.
Mayor Emmett Jordan said there would be no installation cost for the charging stations, but the property owner would have to purchase the canopy through a purchase agreement with a vendor lower than what they are already currently paying for electricity.
“The owner benefits by having shaded parking, lower electricity costs and demonstrating their environmental commitment,” Jordan said. “Owners of large parking lots such as shopping malls, office parks and maybe hotels would likely qualify for this grant.”
John Lippert, a spokesman for the Greenbelt Green Team, said it is important for the city to reach out to property owners to make them aware of the grant opportunity being presented by the MEA as soon as possible because the deadline is on March 2.
“There’s not much time. The Green Team is willing to help work with a property manager or a property owner to put together a grant proposal for the MEA,” Lippert said. “It would be structured so that the owner would not pay for (the installation). It would be paid for by the solar developer.”
Mayor Pro-Tem Judith Davis said there are places in the city that could be interested, but they would need to be talked into it before making a final decision.
“I’m thinking that the Maryland Trade area would be good. Here are huge parking lots—there’s never anybody in them. So I could see where you could put something sort of close,” Davis said. “And they may be interested. But we’d have to have somebody that would go in there and state all the benefits; otherwise they are not going to take you up.”
People in the city would probably be receptive to the idea of the canopies, Councilman Konrad Herling said.
“I think it’s a terrific opportunity. People can always say no thanks, but if we provide them the opportunity to say thanks or no thanks then we’re one step ahead of where we are now,” Herling said.
Although the council moved forward with the proposal, Jordan said it needs to have a solid plan when it comes to the creation and the design of the canopies.
“We can put the information out there and put it up the flag pole because it’s a great opportunity and see what happens,” Jordan said.