SALISBURY, Md.- WBOC will make history in 2019 by building the first solar farm within the Salisbury city limits. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday afternoon at WBOC, where the solar farm will be built on a portion of the 20 acres behind the station’s NewsPlex.
“We have owned that land for years and could not figure out exactly what we wanted to do with it,” says Laura Baker, vice president and COO of Draper Holdings, WBOC’s parent company. “Broadcasting is energy-intensive and 2019 is the last year for the 30 percent federal tax credit on solar, so it seemed like a good fit. The Draper family and board have always been interested in sustainability.”
Molly Draper Russell, president and chief executive officer of Draper Holdings, adds, “It’s important that we make an effort to protect the environment by reducing our carbon footprint. Our company has always been a leader of new technology. My father, the late Tom Draper, would be pleased that we are, once again, taking a step into the future while protecting the environment.”
The solar farm, which will be built by Ultra Solar & Wind Solutions of Ocean City, will include nearly 2,100 solar panels that will generate 908 kilowatts of power, enough to cover all of the energy needs for the television station in Salisbury. Construction on the 2,088 panels will begin in late March, and is expected to be completed and running by June, weather permitting.
The solar panels will be provided by SunPower, a California manufacturer.
“SunPower has been one of the leading innovators in the solar industry for over 30 years and have consistently delivered the most advanced and highest performing products while pushing progressive sustainability practices,” says Bryan Russo, sales manager for Ultra Solar and Wind Solutions LLC,
Russo says SunPower offers new, high efficiency panels that will create more power in less space for the next 40 years.
“This project will not only significantly help the station’s bottom line for decades to come, but it will also eliminate over 27,000 tons of C02 from their footprint,” Russo says. “It’s fitting that Delmarva’s News Leader would also be at the forefront of the move towards renewable energy in our community.”
The high efficiency panels will allow WBOC to use less land for the project, which is important considering there needs to be a landing area for the station’s helicopter, Chopper 16.
Hank Draper, vice president of Draper Holdings and one of Tom Draper’s sons, attended Friday’s event. He says his father would be “very pleased we’re taking a step for the future by protecting our land.”
Salisbury Mayor Jake Day, who also spoke at Friday’s event, thanked WBOC for caring about energy efficiency and the environment and for “investing in our community and the city of Salisbury.”
Here are some of the environmental benefits expected from the 40-year lifespan of the project:
- Eliminate more than 27,000 tons of CO2 from WBOC’s footprint;
- The equivalent of planting over 643,000 trees;
- The equivalent of recycling more than 87,000 tons of waste;
- The equivalent of displacing the carbon emissions from the annual electric use of more than 3,100 homes on Delmarva.
While there are other solar farms on Delmarva, such as the one on Perdue Farms’ corporate property east of Salisbury, the WBOC solar farm will be the first in the city limits of Salisbury.
Draper Holdings is locally owned and operated. Properties include WBOC-TV, WRDELP, FOX21, WBOC Classics, Telemundo Delmarva, MyCOZI, 102.5 WBOC-FM, 100.9% Classic Country WAAI-FM, 106.3 Chesapeake Country WCEM-FM, 107.1 The Duck WTDK-FM, CBS Sports Radio 1240 WCEM-AM, and Loblolly, L.L.C.
WBOC was joined by officials from Ultra Solar & Wind and Salisbury Mayor Jake Day, far right, during Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony. (Photo: WBOC)
Salisbury Mayor Jake Day, above, was one of the guest speakers at Friday’s groundbreaking event. (Photo: WBOC)