Plans are in the works to develop and build a 20MW solar PV power plant on property surrounding the Maryland Correctional Institution outside of Hagerstown. The project would be the largest commercial solar facility in the state.
Eaton-based Maryland Solar LLC said it expects to begin construction by the end of this year and commence commercial operation in late 2012. The project will cost approximately $70 million to construct and will employ around 125 workers in the course of a one-year buildout.
At peak output, the project would produce enough electricity to power about 2,250 average homes. The solar farm will more than double the amount of solar power currently generated within Maryland.
In addition, Maryland Solar plans to incorporate Hagerstown Community College into the project plan, giving the solar farm a unique educational element.
College President Guy Altieri and the company recently reached a written understanding to incorporate the development, construction, and operation of the project into the Alternative Energy Curriculum at HCC. This understanding, among other things, seeks to provide internships and/or job-shadowing opportunities to student, allow classes to visit the site during construction, and provide data connection and support to facilitate the creation of an offsite monitoring room in HCC's new Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) building where classes could monitor in real time energy generation reports from the solar farm.
Maryland Solar has also begun discussions with officials at the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to use prerelease inmates at MCI for routine maintenance efforts at the solar farm like grass maintenance and panel cleaning.