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A solar energy company has opened a facility in White Plains that company staff said will have new jobs and energy-saving opportunities on the horizon for Southern Maryland.

SolarCity opened a 10,000-square-foot operations hub earlier this month, with a dozen staff members currently working out of the center.

The company serves as an alternative for homeowners who wish to circumvent the usual area electric companies and try a cleaner and cheaper energy source, said Regional Vice President Lee Keshishian.

After assessing whether a house is appropriate for a solar energy system, which involves a credit check and ensuring that a house can receive adequate sun exposure, SolarCity will install the system, including solar panels, for free.

A house likely needs to face south, southeast or southwest to work with the system.

The residents will then pay a monthly charge, similar to the traditional electric company model, Keshishian said.

“It’s hard for people to write a check for $20,000 or $30,000 for their own system,” he said.

Keshishian said SolarCity will hire 50 new positions at the Southern Maryland facility, while 100 positions are open statewide. The company seeks experienced electricians, though prospective hires don’t need to posses any prior solar experience. Primarily, Keshishian said, the staff wants those who are willing to learn. SolarCity will also hire a sales team and workers to conduct quality and safety inspections. The company employs more than 255 in Maryland

“Hopefully we can tap into the local talent pool,” Keshishian said.

SolarCity also operates in Beltsville and Hunt Valley.

Bonnie Bick, a representative of the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club and chairwoman of the Mattawoman Campaign, said Southern Maryland residents should be moving toward renewable energy sources.

Bick said the surrounding counties have been endangered by the push to get approvals for exporting gas at Dominion Cove Point, a liquid natural gas shipping unit, in Calvert County. The facility currently is only allowed to import gas

“We are extremely fortunate we haven’t lost our forests yet,” she said. “It’s a constant battle, but there are people all over the state in protecting Charles County. Go solar!”

jbauer-wolf@somdnews.com