Tag: Solar Energy
Solar is one of the fastest growing markets and continues to have great impact on our society. In 2012 alone, the solar energy industry grew by 76% in the United States! One particular area of growth for US solar has been school districts across the country that have gone solar to better manage their budgets and reduce their energy bills. The Dublin City High School District in central Georgia, for example, was just recently in the news for their 1.1MW project on their school campus. The solar array is expected to save the school district $3.5 million over the next 25 years.
Why does solar and schools make so much sense? One reason why the Dublin City School Districts and others are going solar is because of the financial benefits that may come with a solar installation. There are several rebates and credits to help make solar more affordable for schools and most solar schools are eligible for Net Metering credits. This Net Metering credit allows schools to route excess electricity back onto the grid and receive credit from the utility company for the energy produced from the solar system. A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is also another great financial option to reduce or eliminate the cost of a solar system. As utility bills are typically the second highest expense for a school district, solar offers schools the security of predictable and reduced energy costs for almost 20 years!
Another important benefit of solar for educational institutions are the teaching opportunities the system can offer the students and local community. Solar installations can offer real-life curriculum content – from the engineering and technology of how solar works to the environmental offset and impact the system will have on the surrounding community. For our clients, Standard Solar offers education programs where students, grades K-12, are introduced to solar and educated with an in-depth curriculum on the benefits of having a solar system and how it works. This helps to grow the students’ knowledge and appreciation of their environment, health and future.
Educational institutions, like The Dublin City School District and others, are discovering how solar makes sense for their budgets and their students. Standard Solar has partnered with several schools to develop, design, engineer, finance and install their solar arrays. “Solar installations are a great fit for educational institutions, providing significant economic and environmental benefits as well as offering educational opportunities for the students,” said Scott Wiater, president, Standard Solar. Some of our education clients Sandy Springs Friends School(SSFS), Catholic University of America (CUA), University of Delaware, Anne Arundel Community College, Wilmington Friends School, St. Mary’s County Public Schools and others.
|Kent County School students touring the Worton 1.26 MW installation with Standard Solar staff.||Students at Sandy Spring Friends School celebrating the completion of the 477 kW solar array.|
We enjoyed a beautiful sunny day this week while visiting the Perdue headquarters in Salisbury, Maryland. The PV system we designed for this facility, combined with the one at Perdue’s Bridgeville site, results in one of the largest commercially-owned solar installations in the country, and we’re really proud of our involvement with this important project. The partnerships that were forged during the process have become invaluable to us and really serve as a benchmark for the future of these kinds of power installations.
During our visit, we walked around the property, admiring all the work we all put into the site. While watching solar panels “do their thing” isn’t action packed, this installation is pretty fascinating – there are more than 5,000 panels, stretching over an impressive 89,000 square feet – silently generating clean, renewable energy all day long.
Although solar panels do most of their work during the daytime, we wanted to capture the installation at sunset. The reflection of the sun setting off of a panel is something spectacular! Our photographer Matthew Borkoski thinks he got some great shots. We’ll share our favorites soon on our Facebook page.
A few weeks ago, we received a comment on our Facebook page (have you “liked” us?) that seems to sum up what a lot of people think about solar at home—that it would be great because of the environmental and energy security benefits, but who can afford it? While it still is an investment in a home, today’s lowered costs have broadened the appeal of installing a photovoltaic system. In fact, a recent study conducted in California found that 62 percent of new residential solar systems are being installed on middle-income homes. Many of the homeowners we have helped go solar reflect this trend as well.
For a variety of reasons the cost of photovoltaic panels has dropped over the last year or so, and as a result the average system costs have come down a lot, too. Today, the average upfront investment after incentives is around $15,000. Factoring in the avoided cost of utilities for the next 25 years, which have historically increased at approximately 5 percent per year, gives a clearer idea of when a system will “pay for itself.” In many cases, it works out to fewer than ten years, which gives homeowners fifteen years or more to enjoy free solar energy.
Some have compared the purchase of a solar array with that of a car. There are some similarities, but one huge difference—once the array is paid off, the owner will still have many years of worry-free use. With a car, you will continue to pay increasingly for maintenance long after you own it. Since most solar systems are warranted for 25 years and provide residual value from avoided costs of energy among other financial benefits, solar is low risk and a great return on investment. And, with rising costs of electricity, it’s worth looking into…now.