Solar | News
Maryland School Adds Solar Array To Generate $18,000 Annually
Maryland's University Park Elementary School (UPES) is installing a rooftop photovoltaic solar array projected to generate up to $18,000 each year in addition to clean energy. Raised through the sale of electricity and renewable energy tax credits, the revenue stream will be shared by the school and the town of University Park.
The 216-panel installation, capable of producing 85,000 kilowatt hours per year, is fully paid for through its eventual removal after 25 years by a grant from the United States Department of Energy's (DOE) Small Town Energy Program (STEP).
"The solar project is the culmination of two years of work with the school board, Pepco and numerous other stakeholders and volunteers, including our entire Town Council," said University Park Mayor John Tabori, in a prepared statement. "The installation is a terrific example of a successful public-private partnership that delivers multiple benefits to the community, and we are pleased to be part of it!"
The system will also be used in the county's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curriculum via a Web portal that will provide students with real-time performance metrics of the array.
"This solar panel project will benefit both students and the community," said Amber Waller, board of education member, in a news release about the installation. "Students will have ongoing opportunities to build their science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills while learning how this state-of-the-art solar energy project operates and reduces energy costs."
Located in University Park, MD, a town with approximately 2,300 residents, UPES is one of 204 schools in the Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) district. PGCPS is one of the 25 largest districts in the United States, serving approximately 125,000 students with nearly 18,000 employees and an annual operating budget of $1.6 billion.
STEP is an initiative of the DOE designed "to create a roadmap for other small towns to reduce their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent," according to a news release about the UPES solar project. Towns participating in STEP include University Park, College Heights Estates, Hyattsville, and Riverdale Park, all in Maryland.
Visit smalltownenergy.org for more information about STEP. To learn more about University Park Elementary School, go to pgcps.org.
Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].