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Maryland District Completes 803-Kilowatt Solar Array

Dorchester County Public Schools (DCPS) has completed an 803-kilowatt solar installation on the campus of Mace's Lane Middle School.

The installation, comprising 3,276 ground-mounted solar panels, was completed via collaboration between DCPS, Washington Gas Energy Systems, Kenyon Energy, and REC Solar.

"The completion of this project means that Mace's Lane Middle School will be powered by clean, renewable energy for the foreseeable future," said DCPS Superintendent of Schools Henry Wagner, Jr., in a release. "Beyond the environmental impact, it presents a unique learning opportunity for students throughout the school district to get a hands-on lesson in green power and innovation."

An expected annual 1,108 kilowatt-hours of energy from the installation will help power Mace's Lane Middle School and the output of the array is expected to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to the planting of more than 35,000 pine trees or avoiding the use of 1.7 million gallons of gasoline over 20 years, according to a Washington Gas Energy Systems release.

"This solar array promises to reduce the school's carbon footprint and utility costs over the next two decades," said Sanjiv Mahan, vice president of business development for Washington Gas Energy Systems. "We were thrilled to work with Dorchester County Public Schools."

Kenyon Energy and REC Solar teamed up on design and installation aspects of the project, while Washington Gas Energy Systems will own and operate the array under a 20-year power purchasing agreement.

This solar energy project is part of a long-term effort by DCPS to enhance district sustainability, including use of geothermal technology in five of its facilities, single stream recycling at all district sites, cutting waste stream and hauling costs, use of domestically produced natural gas for heating where possible, and an energy management program that has saved the district more than $1 million in avoided energy costs, according to a release.

About the Author

Kevin Hudson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at sportswryter@yahoo.com.

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