Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich is recognizing Earth Month 2024 by reflecting upon advancements made toward the County’s climate goals. During Fiscal Year 2024, Montgomery County’s Department of General Services secured $790,000 in State grant funds from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) to offset the cost of switching select County facilities from fossil fuel-generated electricity to solar-powered electricity.

Earth Month is celebrated each April, while Earth Day is an annual event held on April 22. Advocates for environmental protection participate in various activities to support the initiatives of, including cleanups and petitions. The County’s Earth Month theme this year is “Act Now.” “We are making a huge commitment to fight climate change – my recommended FY25 budget details over $365 million in capital and operating costs across multiple departments,” said County Executive Elrich. “Even with this sizeable investment, we still need more resources and partners to achieve our aggressive goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the County. I appreciate our Department of General Services for securing these state grants. I am grateful to the Moore/Miller Administration, MEA Director Paul Pinsky and the Maryland Energy Administration for these funds.”

The addition of solar panels at select sites throughout the County reduced the County’s annual operational greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated equivalent of:

  • 968 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles for one year
  • 11,157,120 miles driven by an average gasoline-powered passenger vehicle, which is equal to 174,330 trips around the Capital Beltway
  • 847 homes’ electricity use for one year

There are four solar-powered microgrids and resiliency hubs installed throughout the County. These sites include the Animal Services and Adoption Center resiliency hub, the Brookville Bus Maintenance Facility microgrid, the Bette Carol Thompson Scotland Neighborhood Recreation Center resiliency hub and the Brigadier General Charles E. McGee Silver Spring Library building systems optimization project.

“These projects are an investment in Maryland’s clean energy future,” said MEA Director Pinsky. “They reduce the State’s reliance on fossil energy, provide crucial resilience to important County operations and services and help address past energy and environmental inequities unfairly shouldered by Maryland’s overburdened and underserved communities.”

The County uses two types of electricity: electricity-GRID and electricity-SOLAR. Electricity-GRID is generated by fossil fuels (i.e., coal and natural gas) and emits greenhouse gas (GHG). Electricity-SOLAR is generated by on-site solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and emits no GHG. County facilities and electric vehicle fleets powered by electricity-SOLAR, emit no GHG.

“The future of County services is brighter when they’re powered by solar energy and built so facilities like our Animal Services and Adoption Center or Bette Carol Thompson Scotland Neighborhood Recreation Center can keep running when the electric grid has an outage,” said Sarah Kogel-Smucker, Montgomery County climate change officer. “The ability to secure grant funds like these is essential to meeting the County’s climate change goals.”

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