To continue the growth of the Maryland solar industry, the state is expanding its solar energy projects to include a $70 million dollar investment at a state prison near Hagerstown. The solar energy farm would sit on 50 state-owned acres surrounding the medium-security Maryland Correctional Institution and inmates will tend the grounds and keep the panels clean. California currently uses open space around correctional facilities to house solar panels.
Construction is planned to begin this year with completion by December 2012. The solar energy farm would project enough energy to power 2,250 homes and help meet requirements of a state law mandating that 20 percent of Maryland’s electricity be generated from renewable energy sources by 2022.
Maryland’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Service approves of the project, noting that the photovoltaic solar panel farm would make productive use of the land and provide employment opportunities for inmates in the pre-release system. The installation is a great example of the commercial use of solar energy.