UMES to activate state's largest 'solar farm' Monday

Nearly 8,000 panels will meet about 15 percent of campus' electricity needs, officials say

  • The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is set to debut the state's largest array of solar panels on Monday.
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is set to debut the… (Handout photo, Baltimore…)
March 27, 2011|By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is scheduled Monday to activate a 2.2-megawatt "solar farm" on its campus at Princess Anne, the largest renewable-energy facility of its type in the state.

Covering 17 acres once used for agricultural research, the 7,800 photovoltaic panels are expected to provide the 4,500-student campus with about 15 percent of its electrical needs, university officials say.

The installation cost the university nothing, as the facility was built and is owned by SunEdison, a Beltsville-based subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. The school, which spends nearly $3 million a year on electricity, agreed to buy the power the panels produce over the next 20 years.

The solar facility is expected to produce 3.3 million kilowatt-hours of energy annually, and over its first 20 years is projected to avert the release of more than 121 million pounds of carbon dioxide that might have been emitted from a coal-burning power plant furnishing the same amount of electricity.

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