First Solar has announced that construction has begun on a 20 MW solar project, located on the grounds of the Maryland Correctional Institution (MCI) in Hagerstown.
According to First Solar, the project will be the largest solar installation to date in the state of Maryland.
The Maryland Department of General Services conducted a competitive leasing process for the land, and the solar project was awarded the lease for a term of 20 years. The project represents FirstEnergy's fulfillment of its renewable energy commitment pursuant to the negotiated settlement between FirstEnergy and the state as a condition of its merger with Allegheny Power.
FirstEnergy Solutions has agreed to purchase the 20 MW output for 20 years. Over the term of the lease, First Solar will pay nearly $460,000 in rent to lease the land from the state.
First Solar has a 100% stake in the solar project. The project also involves a public-private partnership with Hagerstown Community College (HCC) and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Systems. First Solar has agreed to incorporate elements of the construction and ongoing operation of the solar farm into HCC's growing alternative energy program, allowing students to learn firsthand about what it takes to construct and manage a commercial solar farm.
In addition, First Solar has agreed to allow pre-release inmates at MCI to participate in the solar farm's routine grounds-keeping.