BERLIN – Local officials celebrated the start of construction of a substantial solar array with a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday.
Elected officials joined representatives from Constellation, an Exelon company, as they broke ground on a 10 megawatt (DC) solar energy project that will account for nearly 25 percent of the Town of Ocean City’s annual energy use. The project, which will consist of 30,000 photovoltaic panels on 113 acres, is expected to be complete before the end of 2018.
“This project is certainly something worth celebrating,” Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said. “We’re very in support of land-based green energy —we think that’s terrific. We think that’s the right direction to go. It’s a great use of the property here in Worcester County.”
Meehan said that in the first year, Ocean City would receive nearly six million kilowatt hours of electricity from the project. He said it was expected to save the taxpayers of Ocean City close to $140,000 a year and would help the resort in its goal to become a green community.
“That’s the direction we want to go,” he said. “On top of the environmental advantages there are significant savings to the taxpayers of Ocean City.”
The project, which is located on Old Ocean City Road near the intersection of Route 50 and Route 90, will provide energy for several of the resort’s key buildings, including the convention center, the public safety building, and the recreation center at Northside Park among other facilities.
According to Constellation representatives, the project will also satisfy a key commitment of Exelon’s 2016 merger with Pepco Holdings by adding 10 megawatts of solar generation to Delmarva Power’s Maryland service area.
“We are proud to help the Town of Ocean City support the continued adoption of renewable energy in the state of Maryland,” said Brendon Quinlivan, executive director of Distributed Energy Origination for Constellation. “This type of project offers our customers a clean energy solution that blends onsite renewables and contracted offsite renewables, as well as the more traditional power and gas supply contracts provided by Constellation throughout the U.S.”
According to officials, the project will produce more than 5.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity for the Town of Ocean City and reduce carbon emissions by roughly 4,200 metric tons in the first year. Quinlivan, who called the project a tangible representation of the resort’s commitment to renewable energy, said that was like offsetting 900 homes’ annual energy use.
“It’s a very impactful project not only to our customers but to the environment as well,” he said.
Meehan also praised the cooperative effort that made the solar project possible.
“I think this is a great project,” he said. “It’s a great example of everybody working together. It’s taking us in the right direction. We’re committed to this.”
Officials said the project would create between 100 and 120 jobs and once it was built would need continued maintenance, which would provide work for local electrical contractors.