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Mount Solar Farm Agreement Signed

Agreement will create one the largest solar farms
 on any private college campus in the United States.

Mount St. Mary's University President Thomas H. Powell has signed an agreement with Constellation Energy that will create one of the largest solar farms on any private college campus in the United States. This partnership to produce clean, sustainable energy continues a legacy of commitment to environmental science at the Mount.

In the agreement with Constellation, the Mount will lease 100 of its 1,400 acres on the east campus to house one of the nation's largest solar photovoltaic power farms creating more than 22,000,000 kilowatt hours of emission-free, clean electricity. The amount of clean electricity generated compares to the same amount from non-renewable sources or 15,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of the emissions of more than 3,000 cars.

The 16.1 megawatts of energy produced will supply the Mount, the community and parts of Frederick County while drastically reducing the carbon emissions on-campus and area-wide.

The solar farm is just one part of an all-encompassing environmental effort as an eco-friendly campus including President Powell mandating that all heating and cooling units in new construction and reconstruction projects be revamped using geo-thermal systems.

The Mount will incorporate the solar farm into its academic curriculum by building and maintaining an observation deck and research area for Mount students and the community. It is something Katie Folberth, C'11, president of the Mount Environmental Club, says has captured the interest of students.

"The Solar farm project proves that the Mount is concerned about the natural resources around us," says Folberth. We live in a beautiful area, and this is an enormous opportunity to show our neighboring communities that we are very active and involved in energy conservation, and perhaps this will encourage more natural resource conservation across the area."

Students will also benefit from $50,000 in scholarships provided by Constellation Energy to environmental science majors.

"This unique partnership with Constellation Energy strengthens Mount St. Mary's University's commitment to our stewardship of the land and the creation of clean energy, and it continues the 'greening of the Mount," says President Powell. "Our students will be on the forefront of responsible land use and creation of renewable energy resources. The county and the state will benefit not only from our generation of clean energy but also from the reduction of dependence on more traditional use of coal, natural gas and fossil fuels."

The Mount's campus in Emmitsburg is uniquely situated to take advantage of the photovoltaic panels with its 1,400 acres in the lush Maryland countryside. Groundbreaking for the Mount St. Mary's/ Constellation Energy project will be June 2011 with completion by December 2012.

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