If you’ve driven Rt. 50 on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, you’ve no doubt seen it. Towering high above the fields north of Easton, the white, three-bladed wind turbine marks the site of the Wye Mills campus of Chesapeake College. The 50 kW wind turbine was erected in 2011 and generates enough power to save the regional community college $12,000 – $15,000 a year.
Chesapeake College now plans to give a big boost to its sustainability initiative by adding 2-megawatts of solar power generation. The system is expected to supply 35 percent of the electricity for the college and save $100,000 per year in energy costs. Under a 20-year power-purchase agreement with Solar City, the California-based company will erect solar panels on six acres of open land on the rural campus and build a solar canopy over a new 250 car parking lot.
Chesapeake College cut its energy consumption by 16 percent in an energy-awareness campaign started five years ago. With the addition of the wind turbine and solar arrays, the school hopes to eventually reach its goal to become carbon neutral. The solar project is the largest of its type at any community college in Maryland. The solar parking canopy will include ten electric vehicle charging stations that will be open to the public.
Director of Facilities at Chesapeake College, Anthony Patterson, tells me that the EV charging stations are planned to open by late summer or fall. There will be a fee to use the stations.