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WASHINGTON (AP) — Two universities in the nation’s capital have agreed to a major energy deal to buy more than half their power from three new solar power farms planned in North Carolina.

George Washington University, American University and the George Washington University Hospital announced the 20-year agreement Monday night with Duke Energy Renewables to reduce their carbon footprints by directly tapping solar energy.

The Capital Partners Solar Project will break ground this summer. Once fully operational with 243,000 solar panels, the solar farms are expected to generate 123 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Planners say that translates to eliminating about 60,000 metric tons of carbon emissions per year or taking 12,500 cars off the road.

The Solar Energy Industries Association says this is the nation’s largest nonutility solar power purchase.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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