BALTIMORE, MD - Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG) today announced that its retail energy business affiliate has started construction on a 16.1 megawatt DC grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) solar installation in Emmitsburg, Md. Part of the state of Marylandâ€Ÿs Generating Clean Horizons initiative, the approximately $60 million solar facility will be financed, owned and operated by Constellation Energy. Renewable electricity produced by the system will be purchased by the state of Maryland's Department of General Services and the University System of Maryland under 20-year solar power purchase agreements. "Our stateâ€Ÿs growing â€žgreenâ€Ÿ sector is vital to our ability to create jobs and compete in the new economy," said Gov. Martin Oâ€ŸMalley. "Iâ€Ÿd like to thank Constellation Energy for their commitment to helping us move toward our renewable energy goals. Together, we will continue to make Maryland a leader in the nationâ€Ÿs efforts for clean energy, bring more green jobs to our communities and create a more sustainable future." Constellation Energy employs approximately 75 people to construct the solar installation, and expects that workforce to reach a peak of 150 people during the height of construction. The system is scheduled for operation in early 2012 and is expected to produce more than 22 million kilowatt hours of emissions-free electricity per year. Generating the same amount of electricity using nonrenewable sources would result in the release of 15,170 metric tons of carbon dioxide or the equivalent emissions from 2,975 passenger vehicles annually, according to U.S. EPA data.
"Projects like this are part of Constellation Energyâ€Ÿs commitment to provide clean energy products and services for our customers, both in Maryland and nationally," said Mark Huston, head of Constellation Energy's retail energy business. "Constellation Energy's new 70-megawatt Criterion Wind Project, located in Garrett County, Md., meets the clean energy needs of approximately 23,000 households. We look forward to developing additional renewable projects that will help Maryland meet its environmental goals."
Currently the largest solar photovoltaic power system under construction in Maryland, the ground-mounted installation will be comprised of approximately 220,000 advanced thin film PV panels from First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) situated on 100 acres of land leased from Mount St. Maryâ€Ÿs University. In addition to the 16.1- megawatt system, Constellation Energy is developing an approximately 1.3-megawatt solar power system on the site that will supply power directly to the university.
"This partnership with Constellation Energy supports our sustainability goals here at the Mount," said Thomas H. Powell, president of Mount St. Maryâ€Ÿs University. "We continue to lead the way as responsible stewards of the environment, by recognizing the importance of clean, renewable energy for our students and the community."
In addition to PV technology, First Solar is providing engineering, procurement and construction services for the project.
"First Solar is excited to be working with Constellation Energy on Marylandâ€Ÿs largest PV project," said Frank De Rosa, First Solar senior vice president of project and business development for North America. "Utility-scale PV solar is a clean, affordable source of renewable energy in many parts of the United States beyond the Southwest, where it is typically thought of."
In February 2009, the Maryland Energy Administration, in partnership with the University System of Maryland and the Department of General Services, approved the award of four renewable energy projects under the Generating Clean Horizons program to spur the development of large-scale, commercial renewable energy projects. Under the initiative, the state issued requests for proposals for long-term power purchase agreements from renewable sources delivering clean power to the grid by 2014.
Constellation Energy currently owns and operates approximately 100 megawatts of solar installations that have been completed or are under construction for commercial and government customers throughout the United States. By structuring its solar projects as power purchase agreements, Constellation Energy requires no upfront capital from its customers and is able to provide power at a fixed cost that is less than projected market rates.