See Something Strange Over Route 32? Get Up Close This Weekend

The River Hill Solar Array, which moves with the sun, sits above Route 32. It will be dedicated Saturday.

Since their installation in March, the 12-dual panel solar "trackers" have stood high on a hill overlooking Route 32, practically announcing their high-tech presence.

The solar panels, which move with the sun, will be used to supply power to the River Hill pool and River Hill neighborhood center in Clarksville.

This Saturday, the solar array will be formally dedicated. Invitees to the dedication include County Executive Ken Ulman, Elizabeth Bobo and other Maryland clean energy advocates, according to the Columbia Association. The dedication will take place from 10-11 a.m. The event is open to the public.

The array is the culmination of a partnership between the CA and solar device manufacturer, Advanced Technology & Reasearch Corp. (ATR), which is located in Columbia. The system uses GPS technology to move the solar panels in concert with the sun, which allows the panels to produce 25 to 45 percent more power than fixed solar arrays, according to ATR.

The total cost of the units was $25,000, according to Kelly Cooper, a spokesperson for the CA.

The panels were unanimously approved by the Howard County Planning Board on Oct. 6, according to the Village of River Hill website.

CA President Phil Nelson hailed the installation of the panels. "The power these solar trackers will provide will help offset the electricity needed by both the pool and the neighborhood center."

"Besides providing power for the pool and neighborhood center," said Rob Lundahl, ATR's vice president for energy systems, "the installation of the 12 dual-panel trackers is intended to demonstrate the potential of this technology for more widespread use in similar residential, commercial and other settings."

Have you seen the new panels?

Mike Radinsky May 03, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Just curious. The article notes the cost was 25k (plus installation and maintenance I assume) . Exactly what will be the cost savings per annum? How long will it take to offset that cost?
Geoff Morgan May 04, 2012 at 02:37 AM
The CA president appears as proud of this appropriation as our US president is of stimulus funding of Solyndra. I too would like to have learned more about the business justification for this project than the author seemed interested in sharing. Given the economic climate, we should be hearing more about fiscal responsibility.


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