USM Leadership in Reducing State's Carbon Footprint Continues with Installation in Frederick County

Adelphi, Md. (Aug. 29, 2012) -- In a partnership with Constellation Energy, the University System of Maryland (USM) announced the completion of a 16.1-megawatt solar installation today at Mount St. Mary's University for the state of Maryland's Generating Clean Horizons Initiative.

Electricity generated by the system is purchased by the USM and the state's Department of General Services via 20-year solar power purchase agreements with Constellation. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley led a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Mount St. Mary's campus, a private four-year institution in Frederick County.

"Environmental sustainability is one of three critical priorities for the University System of Maryland, and colleges and universities have a special responsibility to find effective pathways and prepare the next generation," said Donald Boesch, USM Vice Chancellor for Environmental Sustainability and president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. "This solar generation project at Mount St. Mary's University is an example of how we can help our state toward a reliable and sustainable energy future."

The newly dedicated system is expected to produce more than 20 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually that are free of emissions. The same amount of electricity generated with nonrenewable sources would result in release of nearly 18,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In December 2009, the USM Board of Regents approved the award of renewable energy projects to produce more than 20 percent of the yearly electric needs for USM institutions and state agencies. The contracts will advance the state's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint by 25 percent by 2020 and the USM's commitment to carbon neutrality under the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.                     

With procurement leadership from officials at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), projects recommended for award to regional energy providers included the solar project at Mount St. Mary's University, a 10-megawatt (MW) wind project in western Maryland (with regional energy provider Synergics) and a 55 MW project in West Virginia (US Wind Force).

"The commercial dedication of the Mount St. Mary's solar project marks the final step in the state's completion of its initial Generating Clean Horizons project," said Joan Kowal, USM energy adviser. "USM is proud to have led by example in the solicitation and ultimate development of three large scale renewable projects in the area. It is our hope that these projects are just the first of many ultimately built for the state's benefit in the next decade."

UMCP has continued to provide the procurement and technical lead for the effort, working with the state's Department of General Services and the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA). 

Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719