#Ocean City, the popular sunny vacation spot in Maryland, will soon house a relatively large #solar #energy project. It looks like the sun will do much more than just tan Ocean City tourists. It will provide the necessary power for many buildings in the sunny Maryland resort area.
The new solar farm will be placed at the intersection between Maryland Route 90 and U.S. Route 50. If you are familiar with the area, the #solar project will be placed roughly 10 miles west of Ocean City. #Constellation, a local energy company, is the corporation building this new solar farm, with a stated capacity of 10 megawatts.
Taking Things to Solar Heights
The solar farm will span over 113 acres when finished and it will contain more than 30,000 PV panels (an abbreviation for photovoltaic panels). These solar panels will be able to supply more than 20 percent of the annual energy use of the Ocean City resort when operating at full capacity.
At this time, it looks like among the buildings that will get power from the new solar farm are the water plant, the city hall and the convention center. Of course, many more buildings are expected to get access to cheap solar energy after the plant is operational.
The mayor of Ocean City, Rick Meehan, stated that in the first year after the solar plant starts producing electricity, Ocean City will receive roughly six million kWh of electricity. This means Ocean City will save over $120,000 every year in tax payer money, thanks to the Constellation solar project.
And there is another beneficiary as well. When the solar plant is operational, a portion of the solar energy will go to Eastman Chemical Co. The company will use the cheap solar energy to power its manufacturing plant located in the Maryland city of Chestertown.
While Constellation is planning and funding the solar project, another company is overseeing the construction of the solar farm. United Renewable Energy is that company and, according to them, the solar farm will be ready by the end of the year 2018. This is great news, as the solar farm will start producing energy by the end of this year.
Solar Farms Over Wind Turbines?
The project is a bit of change from what we have seen in Maryland up to now. The state has been focusing on renewable energy, but mostly chose wind turbines. However, the problem with wind turbines is they are quite unsightly, depending on who you might ask. And because officials in Maryland are still focused on their goal to make Ocean City greener, solar farms have started to replace wind turbines.
According to Brendon Quinlivan, the executive director of Distributed Energy Origination for Constellation, Ocean City was the most interesting venue in the Delmarva region for the company. The city officials have been very interested in obtaining green energy from a solar plant and Constellation has been more than happy to help with this.
It is interesting to note the council and the mayor of Ocean City have vouched to increase the renewable energy usage of the city to over 50 percent by next year. At the time of writing, Ocean City gets just 35% of its energy from renewable sources like solar and wind. And let’s not forget out of the 35 percent, 15 percent is mandated by the state of Maryland.
According to Constellation, the solar plant will reduce the carbon emissions of Ocean City by around 4,200 metric tons (this is the equivalent of 900 passenger vehicles according to the United States EPA). Also, the solar project will create 70 to 80 new jobs in the city. The companies involved in the project maintain they will do their best to recruit local workforce for the project.
Also, the solar project will help one of the commitments of the 2016 merger between Exelon and Pepco Holdings: the addition of 10 megawatts of solar capacity to Delmarva Power (the utility servicing the Ocean City area of Maryland).
If everything goes according to plan, Ocean City will start receiving solar energy by the end of 2018. The project will save $120,000 in taxpayers’ money in 2019 and Ocean City will be one step closer to its stated goal of getting over 50% of its electricity from renewable sources. Keep following solar news to stay in the know – what is your city doing in an effort to go solar? Keep your eyes open and stay tuned!