It will generate more than 17-megawatts of renewable energy.
A ribbon cutting was held Wednesday morning on a 100-acre solar farm at Mount Saint Mary's University. The facility located behind some athletic fields east of Route 15 will generate 17.7-megawatts of electricity for the Mount, the University of Maryland System and the state's Department of General Services.
In his comments, Mount Saint Mary's President Tom Powell told the audience that this project resulted from a partnership between Constellation Energy, which will own and opearted the solar farm, the two universities and the State of Maryland. "It started with the good leadership of our governor to set a vision for how Maryland can lead the nation in environmental stewardship. It began with the University of Maryland's commitment to use sustainable power as they pursue their mission. It began with Constellation Energy to use the latest technology to produce clean energy."
Governor Martin O'Malley noted that Maryland's solar industry has grown over the years. "In 2007, Maryland didn't have much solar on the grid at all. We did not have much of a solar sector," he said. "But in just five years, we've chosen to put 530 times the amount we did in 2007."
He further said that he believes there will be about 10,000 men and women employed in the solar industry over the next ten years.
The facility is considered the nation's largest solar energy farm, and Constellation Energy President and CEO Kenneth Cornew said there's more to come. "We made a commitment, Exelon and Constellation made a commitment in the state to build 30 more megawatts of solar generation in the state by 2015," he said.
Sixth District Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, whose talked about looking for alternatives to oil, said this type of solar farm can help with national security. He said a terrorist incident, a cyber-attack, a giant solar storm and the detonation of a nuclear weapon in the atmosphere can knock out an electric power grid. "What you're doing today is doubly important. It's really green. Thank you for doing that. And it's really a contribution to our national security because if each of us, in terms of our institutions, our families, can be relatively independent in national emergencies, we're going to be stronger as a country, aren't we," Bartlett said.
Out of the 17.7-megawatts of power, 16.1 will be sent to the University of Maryland System and the Department of General Services, and 1.6-megawatts will go to Mount Saint Mary's University.