(Release: May 26, 2011) - Officials at Hagerstown Community College have reached a written understanding with Maryland Solar to incorporate the development, construction, and operation of the proposed Washington County-based 20 megawatt solar farm, into the college’s alternative energy technology curriculum.
“Being involved with a project of this scope allows HCC students to be exposed to the real-world implementation of an alternative energy system at a level beyond the typical residential and commercial application,” said Tony Valente, HCC’s lead instructor of alternative energy technology. “Site visits and videotaping of the installation, along with the ongoing data collection from the system’s operation, will be extremely valuable to HCC’s alternative energy curriculum.”
“I’m excited about the leadership that HCC is showing in the areas of technology, not only for our community, but for our state,” said Del. Andrew Serafini. “In STEM programs, such as solar, biotech, and cybersecurity, Dr. Altieri and the HCC staff are leading the way and I am fully committed to working with them as they move forward with these projects.”
This proposed system will require advanced instrumentation and monitoring of its daily production, which can be easily incorporated into the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) Building that is currently under construction on the HCC campus. The 65,000 square-foot STEM Building is scheduled to open in January of 2012 and will offer the most current technology to support HCC’s math and science programs, including alternative energy technology, biotechnology, and cybersecurity. Space will be designated in the STEM Building to house the monitoring and data collection equipment for the solar farm, for use by HCC faculty and students.
“This project is significant, not only to HCC and its students, but to regional economic development as well,” said HCC President Guy Altieri. “Washington County is ideally positioned to be a leader in renewable energy and this partnership illustrates the importance of HCC’s alternative energy technology program.”
Maryland Solar LLC, an Easton-based energy company, has proposed building the 20 MW solar farm on leased state land surrounding the Maryland Correctional Institution, just south of Hagerstown. Construction is expected to begin by the end of 2011 with the commercial operation to begin in late 2012. The project would employ approximately 125 workers in the course of the one-year build out and would double the amount of solar power currently on the Maryland grid. It would be the largest solar facility in the state and one of the largest on the East Coast.