Green Schools | News

Maryland District Installs Solar Project with Zero Capital Outlay

St. Mary's County Public Schools (SMCPS) of Leonardtown, MD has begun work on the installation of a 503-kilowatt solar energy project at its George Washington Carver Elementary School. The district received a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) under the auspices of the Project Sunburst program, which works to implement projects that generate solar electricity in public buildings throughout the state. By partnering with solar energy equipment provider Perpetual under a 15-year power purchase agreement, the district was able to undertake the project with no upfront capital outlay.

When completed, the project will consist of more than 2,200 solar panels that will generate an estimated 677,000 kilowatt hours of clean electricity in the first year, fulfilling about 80 percent of the school's annual power needs.

"Project Sunburst is a very important project to St. Mary's County Public Schools," said Michael J. Martirano, superintendent of schools, "not only in the cost savings that we will [realize], but it is a key component in our green school initiative where we are able to provide educational opportunities to our students, staff, and community which promote the use of our sustainable resources."

In conjunction with the new project, Carver Elementary will launch a renewable energy program as part of its science curriculum, featuring a Web-based monitoring system in the school's central lobby that will allow students and faculty to keep track of the electricity the project generates and to learn firsthand how such an installation converts sunlight to fuel.

Perpetual, a unit of investment and asset management firm The Alliant Company, has similarly financed solar systems for commercial, industrial, and municipal facilities, as well as other educational clients in California and Delaware. Further information about partnering can be found here.

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.