Standard Solar, Inc., a leader in the full-service development and installation of solar electric systems for commercial, government and residential customers, announced April 7 construction of a 753 kW system for Maryland’s Anne Arundel Community College (AACC).
The entire photovoltaic (PV) system is being installed on top of a covered parking structure — the largest such system in Maryland and one of the largest carport systems on the East Coast. As a Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) Project Sunburst Partner, AACC received an American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) grant from the MEA specifically designed for the development of solar electric projects on public buildings in Maryland. Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. (WGES) provided the balance of the financing for the project and will own and operate the system once installed.
The entire PV system is being installed directly on top of the parking structure using a Protek Park PV canopy system. This system will consist of more than 3,100 “Buy American” compliant Suniva solar panels. Once completed, AACC’s system is expected to generate approximately one million kilowatt hours of electricity in its first year of operations, enough to power 100 average homes and the equivalent of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from more than 77,000 gallons of gasoline per year, or over 1 million gallons over the next 15 years. The system is projected to save the college more than $300,000 over the next 15 years.
“We see this as an important step forward in our commitment to cost-effective renewable energy. This system will provide about 5 percent of the college’s total electrical need, and we are excited to continue moving in this direction,” said AACC president Dr. Martha A. Smith.
The system will also feature a complete monitoring system for the PV facility which will collect live data from the solar panels, as well as electricity generated, solar irradiance, PV cell temperature and ambient temperature. All of the data will be accessible on a website which will include system photos, historical electricity production data, carbon offset equivalencies and custom reporting capabilities.
“AACC’s carport installation is another example of how colleges and universities are taking critical steps toward energy independence,” said Scott Wiater, president, Standard Solar. “As a Maryland-based company, we are pleased to be helping Project Sunburst partners in our own backyard harness the power of the sun.”
AACC received a $750,000 grant from the ARRA to contribute to the financing of the system. WGES is providing the financing for the balance of the project costs and will own and operate the PV system once installed. WGES will sell the output of the solar panels to AACC through a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), enabling AACC to host the solar project without any capital outlay.
“WGES’ efforts to help customers find environmentally attractive solutions for their energy needs are bolstered by Maryland programs and policies that encourage, and in fact rely on, the competitive market to invest in these clean energy technologies,” said Harry Warren, president, WGES. “The Anne Arundel Community College project will bring our rapidly growing portfolio of owned, operated and committed solar power projects here in Maryland to almost 3 megawatts.”
The AACC project is the second solar PV system developed by Standard Solar and WGES that is part of MEA’s Project Sunburst. MEA received significant funding through the ARRA to promote clean, affordable and reliable energy. As part of this initiative, MEA has set aside a significant portion of this funding to promote the installation of renewable energy systems on public buildings in Maryland through Project Sunburst. In order to maximize available incentives and limit upfront costs, Project Sunburst Partners will host renewable energy systems and contract for the electricity generated through power purchase agreements. AACC was one of 21 recipients statewide to receive the Project Sunburst grant and Maryland’s only community college to receive the grant.
Standard Solar provides a complete turnkey solution to academic, government, commercial, and utility clients interested in benefitting from renewable energy without having to outlay the large amount of capital required to design, engineer, construct, maintain and operate commercial-scale solar systems.