PRINCESS ANNE, Md. (AP) — A 2.2-megawatt solar energy farm is about to go online at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. 

The solar panels sit on 17 acres behind the campus and will generate enough energy to power all the homes in Princess Anne. It’s believed to be the largest renewable energy producer of its kind at an American university. 

UMES plans to buy back the electricity created on the farm, which is owned and operated by Beltsville-based SunEdison. It’s expected to cut energy costs and serve 15 percent of the utility needs at the 4,000-student campus. 

Ron Forsythe, vice president of technology and commercialization at UMES, says UMES pays just under $3 million a year for electricity and saw a nearly $1 million increase in its bill in 2007. 

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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