Work underway on solar project that will power Ocean City

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Constellation broke ground on a 10-megawatt solar project that will account for around 20 percent of the Town of Ocean City’s annual energy use.

Located near the intersection of Routes 50 and 90 (about 10 miles west of downtown Ocean City), the solar array will provide energy for several of the town’s key buildings, including city hall, convention center, and water plant.

“This solar array is a leading project of its kind and a true example of the Town of Ocean City’s commitment to renewable energy and a sustainable future for our resort community,” Mayor Rick Meehan said. “Thanks to our continued collaboration with Constellation, in the first year, the Town of Ocean City will receive nearly six million kilowatt-hours of electricity from this solar generation project, and a lower energy rate than conventional renewable electricity supply, saving Ocean City taxpayers an expected $120,000 per year.”

Upon completion, the solar project will satisfya commitment of Exelon’s 2016 merger with Pepco Holdings — adding 10 megawatts of solar generation in Delmarva Power’s Maryland service area.

Constellation is part of Exelon.

The system is expected to reduce carbon emissions by nearly 4,200 metric tons in the first year, the greenhouse gas equivalent of 899 passenger vehicles, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates.

In addition to Ocean City, Eastman Chemical Company will use a portion of the solar project’s production to power its manufacturing facility in Chestertown, MD. In total, the solar project consists of more than 30,000 photovoltaic panels on 113 acres.

United Renewable Energy will provide day-to-day oversight and coordination throughout the construction process. The project is slated to be completed before the end of this year.

Maryland gets about three percent of its electricity from solar, nearly double the percentage in neighboring Delaware. Both states offer incentives for solar installations.

Delaware is under mandates that call for 3.5 percent of its electricity to come from solar by 2025.

That percentage may not be difficult to achieve, since prices of solar panels have dropped sharply. One uncertainty involves recent tariffs on solar panels that are largely made in Asia.

A site near Milford, is believed to be the largest solar project in Delaware.

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