HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - Construction of one of Maryland's largest solar energy projects has begun at a state prison complex near Hagerstown.
Gov. Martin O'Malley joined a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday for the 20-megawatt array of solar panels on 160 acres of state-owned land near the Maryland Correctional Institution.
Officials say the 100,000 photovoltaic panels will be capable of generating enough electricity during peak operation to power 2,700 homes.
The $70 million project was announced in May 2011 by Maryland Solar LLC of Easton. That company was acquired earlier this year by First Solar Inc. of Tempe, Ariz.
O'Malley says the project will help Maryland achieve its goal of producing 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2022.