Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO), a member of the National Renewables Cooperative Organization (NRCO), selected SunEdison to develop a 5.5MW AC solar facility on 47.2 acres of land owned by SMECO in Hughesville, Maryland. The project, which will sit next to SMECO’s engineering and operations building, is anticipated to reach full commercial operation in early 2013 and generate 8,471MWh of solar electricity during its first operational year.
Approval is currently pending from the Maryland Public Service Commission and final engineering and permitting are still being evaluated. SMECO plans to own and operate the solar farm through its subsidiary SMECO Solar. The solar facility will be net metered with SMECO’s engineering and operations building, which is expected to utilize 10% of the solar installation’s output.
“We are making the most of our existing resources to increase our effectiveness as a cooperative: land that was once used to produce tobacco will now be used to produce electric energy,” according to Austin Slater, Jr., SMECO's president and CEO. “Working with NRCO and SunEdison has allowed us to develop a project tailored to our needs that will benefit our customer-members. Through our partnership, we will be able to obtain low-cost financing for infrastructure that will increase the availability of solar resources within our service area.”