Constellation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation and a leading competitive retail energy supplier, and the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) announced the start of construction of a 5.1-megawatt (DC) solar generation project in Baltimore County. The solar power system, spread among the college's three main campuses in Dundalk, Essex and Catonsville, is expected to generate enough electricity to meet approximately 27 percent of the college's electricity needs. Constellation will also install 10 duplex electric vehicle charging stations as part of the project.
"This solar power system supports our mission of promoting sustainable initiatives on campus and educating and engaging students in environmentally sound practices," said CCBC President Sandra L. Kurtinitis. "An important added benefit is the ability to better manage our energy costs."
The project expands Constellation's role as the No. 1 solar energy producer in Maryland. To date, the company has completed 28.5 megawatts of solar projects in the state and expects to have an additional 30 megawatts operational by the end of 2015.
Constellation will own and operate the CCBC solar power systems. CCBC will purchase the electricity generated by the solar panels from Constellation under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
"Constellation continues to be committed to advancing renewable energy initiatives in Maryland, and we are pleased to help CCBC achieve its sustainability objectives through solar power," said Gary Fromer, senior vice president of Distributed Energy for Constellation. “This zero-emissions system will allow the college to demonstrate the viability of clean energy resources and provide charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles to students, faculty and our local community."
The solar power system is composed of approximately 16,500 photovoltaic panels located on carports across the campuses and will cover more than 1,400 parking spaces. The system is expected to generate approximately 6.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. Generating the same amount of electricity using nonrenewable sources would result in the release of approximately 4,482 tons of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent emissions from 944 passenger vehicles annually, according to U.S. EPA data for the region.
Constellation currently owns and operates more than 200 megawatts of solar installations that have been completed or are under construction for commercial and government customers throughout the United States. These solar projects, combined with other forms of clean, on-site power supply such as biomass and co-generation, mean that Constellation has a total of 300 megawatts of distributed generation completed or under development for customers.
By structuring its solar projects as power purchase agreements or solar services agreements, Constellation offers solar installations that may require no upfront capital from customers and may provide fixed power costs that are less than projected market rates.