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College-Backed Solar Projects Are Switched On in Md., Off in N.J.

Two items of solar news affecting mid-Atlantic colleges have emerged lately—one good, one not so good.

In the good-news category, Maryland’s governor, Martin O’Malley, wielded a big pair of scissors for a ribbon-cutting last week at Mount St. Mary’s University, where he celebrated the installation of a 16.1-megawatt solar field. The field, as you can see, is vast, comprising 220,000 panels on 100 acres of land owned by Mount St. Mary’s.

Constellation Energy owns and operates the field, and has leased the land from the university. The company developed an additional 1.6-megawatt system on the site that will supply power to the campus.

In the not-so-good-news category, neighbors of Mercer County Community College, in New Jersey, have filed a lawsuit to stop a 45-acre solar project on that campus, reports The Times of Trenton. The neighbors argue that the eight-megawatt project will “disturb their properties.”

The project seems to have been under fire for some time. Locals have in the past expressed worries about its cost, and about how the project would affect water flow in the area.

The neighbors contend that the solar project violates zoning laws because it is not an “education use,” according to The Times. But a lawyer for the zoning board said the proposed solar farm would be permitted. A hearing is set for this month.

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