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Hagerstown Community College (HCC) and First Solar Inc. have launched a collaborative initiative for faculty and students in HCC's alternative energy technology program to benefit from the construction and operation of the 20 MW Maryland Solar facility, a First Solar project currently under construction in Washington County.

Maryland Solar has agreed to provide HCC and its students with site visits, guest lectures, internships and a digital "dashboard" at HCC's STEM Building so that visitors can get a first-hand view of operational data, direct from the solar farm.

Maryland Solar has also agreed to provide HCC with solar panels, enabling the college to install and maintain a small, ground-mounted solar power plant as well as a roof-mounted PV system on its building. These solar panels will further enhance the educational opportunities available to HCC's students and help offset electricity usage on the HCC campus, according to First Solar and HCC.

The 20 MW Maryland Solar facility is expected to begin commercial operation in 2013.

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