Holcim (US) Inc.’s proposal for a 10-MW solar generating system near its Hagerstown, Md., cement plant received unanimous approval for a zoning exception, reported Herald-Mail Media. The project site is zoned agriculture (rural) with a mineral overlay. It is estimated that the generated solar power will offset the manufacturer's power needs by 20 percent a year.

Construction is expected to begin in the spring and completed in October, said Nate Lapierre, development project manager for NRG Energy, whose subsidiary NRG Solar Hagerstown has a 35-year site lease with Holcim.

The Hagerstown plant was recently modernized to meet and exceed state and federal environmental regulations, reducing nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 60 percent and sulfur dioxide output by about 50 percent.

The solar project is part of LafargeHolcim's continuing efforts to modernize the plant, reduce its environmental footprint and support the company’s goals to create a more sustainable construction industry.

The project will still need to go through site-plan approval.