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Massive Solar Panel Array Unveiled At College Park

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The University of Maryland College Park unveiled a solar array Wednesday containing 2,600 individual solar panels.
Matt Bush
The University of Maryland College Park unveiled a solar array Wednesday containing 2,600 individual solar panels.

The University of Maryland in College Park is unveiling a new solar panel array on one of its buildings. The school calls the facility one of the largest in the region.

The more than 2,600 panels are located on top of the school's Severn building, on Greenbelt Road. In addition to providing power to the school and neighboring College Park, the array will also be used as part of the university's clean energy curriculum, which has brought the school national recognition. With so many clean energy sources available, solar has become popular because of the speed with which it can be installed.

Harry Warren, President of the Washington Gas Energy Services, which owns and operates the new panel array, explains the virtues of solar power.

"Here in the state of Maryland, we know if we want to build really cost effective wind projects, we'll build them offshore or build them on the mountain ridges," says Warren. "Solar energy can go anywhere. This particular project, from the time the solar panels showed up on this roof to the time it was operational took only two months."

Warren adds the cost of solar power has dropped during the past few years because government grants make it cheaper to purchase and install the panels. The University of Maryland facility was subsidized by the federal government as well as by the state, as part of Maryland's Sunburst Initiative.

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