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Environment

Solar goes to school: Power-generating panels cover community college parking lots

Students attending the Community College of Baltimore County this fall have started parking with power.

The two-year institution now has 16,500 solar panels covering more than 1,400 parking spaces on its three campuses in Catonsville, Dundalk and Essex.

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Built by Constellation, the 5.1-megawatt project is expected to generate 6.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. That's enough to power about 540 homes - or, in this case, to furnish 27 percent of the campuses' power needs, according to school officials.

Constellation, a division of Exelon Corp., retains ownership of the photovoltaic system and is selling the electricity to CCBC. College officials say they expect to save $4 million over the 20-year life of the power purchase agreement.

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The CCBC project, which drew dignitaries for a celebration Thursday, adds to Maryland's growing power generation from the sun. Last year, a total of 73 MW of solar electric capcity were installed in the state, ranking it 12th nationally, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.


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