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SunEdison/Bithenergy solar farm helps Columbia, MD, reach 100% renewable energy
By Brianna Crandall, September 28, 2015—SunEdison, Inc. (SUNE), a global renewable energy development company, in partnership with Bithenergy, a leading solar developer, recently announced that Columbia, Maryland, is now offsetting 100 percent of its energy use from renewable sources. Columbia now sources 75 percent of its energy from wind renewable energy credits, and 25 percent from a newly completed two-megawatt (MW) DC solar farm in SunEdison and Bithenergy's joint Nixon Farm solar project in West Friendship, MD.
The 2 MW solar farm is expected to generate enough energy to power more than 250 homes and avoid the emission of more than 2 million pounds of carbon dioxide, equivalent to taking 220 cars off the road, says SunEdison.
Columbia, MD, is home to approximately 100,000 people, and is managed by the nonprofit service corporation Columbia Association. The nonprofit is purchasing the solar power for the community through a 20-year power purchase agreement with SunEdison. The solar farm is located outside of Columbia, and via virtual net metering credits, the community can enjoy the benefits of solar without the need to locate the solar farm on-site, explains SunEdison.
By supplementing Nixon Farm's solar energy with wind-based renewable energy certificates, Columbia Association says it has been able to achieve the community's sustainability goals and reduce its carbon footprint by more than half.
SunEdison provided its high-performance solar panels and financing for the construction of the project, while solar developer Bithenergy originated the project with Columbia Association and completed the permitting, site work, and pre-construction services for the project. SolAmerica was contracted as the engineering, procurement, and construction firm to build the solar power plant to SunEdison's specifications.
The operation and maintenance of the solar power plant will be performed by SunEdison Services, which provides 24/7 asset management, monitoring and reporting services.