31 August 2012
Constellation and Maryland Governor dedicate 16.1MW grid-connected solar installation
As part of the state of Maryland’s Generating Clean Horizons initiative, Constellation Energy of Baltimore, MD, USA has announced completion of a 16.1MW(DC) grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) solar project (one of the state's largest solar installations) in Emmitsburg, MD.
“In just five years, we've put 530 times more solar on the grid, and we've put 2000 men and women to work in solar sector jobs,” said Governor Martin O'Malley during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the solar installation, located at Mount St. Mary's University. “With partners like Constellation, we will continue to make investments in innovative technologies that create jobs,” he added.
The ground-mounted solar power plant was constructed by First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA using about 220,000 of its cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film PV panels situated on 100 acres of land leased by Constellation from Mount St. Mary's University. Constellation financed, owns and operates the $50m solar facility on behalf of its customer, the state of Maryland. Generated electricity is purchased by the state’s Department of General Services and the University System of Maryland under 20-year solar power purchase agreements with Constellation. In addition to the 16.1MW system, Constellation developed a 1.6MW solar power system on the site that will supply power directly to the university.
The grid-connected system is expected to produce more than 20 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Generating the same amount of electricity using non-renewable sources would result in the release of 17,981 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, according to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data.
“The solar farm presents an exciting learning and teaching opportunity for our students and for the local community, and places the Mount at the forefront in championing responsible land use and promoting renewable energy resources,” says Mount St Mary's University president Thomas H. Powell.
In February 2009, the Maryland Energy Administration, in partnership with the University System of Maryland and the Department of General Services, approved the award of four renewable energy projects under the Generating Clean Horizons program to spur the development of large-scale, commercial renewable energy projects. Under the initiative, the state issued requests for proposals for long-term power purchase agreements from renewable sources delivering clean power to the grid by 2014.
Constellation currently owns and operates more than 112MW of solar installations that have been completed or are under construction for commercial and government customers throughout the USA. In Maryland, Constellation has developed nearly 25MW of solar projects for customers, including Anne Arundel County, Coppin State University, General Motors, Maryland Science Center and McCormick & Company.
Constellation says that, by structuring its solar projects as power purchase agreements or solar services agreements, it offers solar installations that may require no upfront capital from customers and can provide fixed power costs that are less than projected market rates.