New report by The Solar Foundation finds nearly 2,000 Maryland K-12 schools ripe for solar energy installations
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 4, 2015 – The Solar Foundation (TSF), an independent nonprofit solar research and education organization, today released a new report on Maryland solar schools, finding 1,867 public and private K-12 schools in the state could cost-effectively deploy solar energy systems. Combined, these systems could generate electricity valued at over $18 million per year, equivalent to 421 teacher salaries, and produce 165,000 megawatt-hours of electricity – enough to offset the carbon emissions of 24,000 passenger vehicles.
The report, Brighter Maryland: A Study on Solar in Maryland Schools, is the first state report following the national solar schools census, released by TSF in 2014. This study represents a deep-dive into county- and district-level economic and educational indicators to determine which parts of the state stand to gain the most from the deployment of solar on local schools, identifying 20 counties (out of 24) with significant potential for benefit. Moreover, five counties – Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s – as well as Baltimore City, would each create more than 100 jobs and save over $1 million over the course of 30 years.
“Besides the typical – but often significant – economic benefits attached to solar, investments in solar on K-12 schools can provide interactive educational opportunities, create jobs, and, if equipped with energy storage capabilities, even allow a school to serve as an emergency center during times of crisis,” said Andrea Luecke, TSF President and Executive Director.
Montgomery County Public Schools provides an excellent example of how solar can help schools save money, while also achieving their sustainability goals. In 2008, the school district announced the installation of three rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems, making it the first district in the state to adopt PV on a large scale. In the years following, the district installed five more rooftop systems, saving between $10,000 and $15,000 in the 2013-2014 academic year alone. Given continually declining installed costs and recognizing that still more schools could deploy solar cost-effectively, the district has proposed several additional large rooftop and ground-mounted projects, which are expected to save them $130,000 in offset energy costs each year.
“Energy costs are second only to personnel costs in K-12 school district operating budgets,” noted Jennifer Seydel, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Green Schools National Network. “Schools across the country are benefiting from the policies that drive down the costs of solar initiatives, resulting in an increased use of solar in our schools. As we prepare for a net-zero future, it makes sense that we look to alternative energy options in the institutions that have the greatest influence on future generations.”
“We are very pleased to have been able to help The Solar Foundation document the contribution that solar schools can make to a sustainable prosperity for the State of Maryland,” said Stuart Clark, Executive Director of the Town Creek Foundation. “This important analysis shows how solarizing schools is a valuable strategy for addressing economic and educational inequities in places like Baltimore City and the Eastern Shore, while at the same time building resilience in the communities that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.”
The full Brighter Maryland report can be found at http://mdschools.tsfcensus.org
About The Solar Foundation:
The Solar Foundation® (TSF) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research and education that transform markets. TSF is a leading provider of educational materials on the economic impacts of solar for local governments through its work with the U.S. Department of Energy. In 2014, TSF released a comprehensive report on the nation’s K-12 solar schools entitled, Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools. TSF also chairs the National Solar Schools Consortium, a group of stakeholders seeking to make solar a larger part of the national K-12 system. More at www.TheSolarFoundation.org
Mary Liang, Program Associate at mliang [at] solarfound.org / 202-556-2894