First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) is involved in a Maryland project comprised of 300,000 solar panels and capable of generating 20 MW per hour. The project will provide power to almost 5,000 households once it is operational.
The facility occupies 160 acres and will be the largest in the state when fully developed. Maryland has a statewide goal of meeting 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2022.
Back in 2006, the state was generating just 0.1 MW from solar facilities; today, it stands at 70 MW and should hit 100 MW by 2013. This farm will bring it one step closer.
Roughly 75 to 80 percent of the labor force that has been working on the First Solar project is local, while an average of 160 people have been engaged with the development each day.
The plant, approved back in October of last year, is slated to cost $70 million. Solar panels used in the plant are the thin-film PV types manufactured by First Solar, and the energy from the plant will be sold first to FirstEnergy Solutions and then to the state grid. Construction is being handled by Belectric.