First Solar entered into a leasing agreement with the state of Maryland in order to construct the state’s largest solar power plant. Located on 160 acres near the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, the 20MW project will include over 300,000 solar panels.
Maryland has an aggressive renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that requires the state to generate 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2022. In 2006, solar power plants generated less than 0.1 megawatts.
But a lot has changed over the last few years. The Maryland Energy Administration’s former director Malcolm Woolf said in a recent statement on the MEA’s website that Maryland is expected to produce 100 MW by the end of 2o12.
The new project in Hagerstown is another big win for Maryland’s solar advocates.
First Solar estimates that the solar farm will generate “a peak of 20 megawatts of power per hour”, producing enough electricity to support 5,000 homes nearby.
The $70 million solar power plant broke ground a few months ago and has provided dozens of jobs to local residents during construction.