Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Solar Power Lights Up Kent County

   There was a ribbon cutting ceremony in Worton yesterday to celebrate the dawn of a new era in Kent County.
From the left, Kent County Commissioner William Short, President of Standard Solar Scott Wiater, Vice President of Washington Gas Energy Services Sanjiv Mahan, President of Kent County Commissioners Ron Fithian, Superintendent of Kent County Schools Dr. Barbara Wheeler, House Delegate Jay Jacobs, and President of Kent County Board of Education Brian Kirby.  Behind them is the 1.26 megawatt solar power system.

 You see, the County Government and the Board of Education have done something unique in the state: they have collaborated on a renewable energy project.  Along with partners Standard Solar and Washington Gas Energy Services, the county and the board of ed have installed a 1.25 megawatt solar power system on eight acres between the Kent County Community Center and the Kent County High School.  The system will provide 1,600 megawatt hours of clean energy per year to the high school, the elementary school, the community center, the radio tower facility, and the department of public works.

There are 5,380 panels in this solar power system located between the Kent County Community Center and the Kent County High School.
All of this will be accomplished under the the new net metering law in Maryland that allows for municipalities, non-profits, and agricultural concerns to aggregate their meters when offsetting the power provided to them by a single source of renewable energy, such as solar.  Rather than having to install a solar power system at each facility, the aggregate metering program allowed for a single installation at one site which provided an overall project savings in equipment and efficiencies of more than $500,000.  This project will help the county government and the board of ed reduce electricity costs by roughly $65,000 the first year, and by more than $2 million during the course of the next 20 years or so.  In addition, the system will offset the county's carbon footprint equivalent to removing 215 passenger vehicles per year from the roads, or more than 2,500 barrels of oil consumed, or the burning of six rail cars worth of coal.

And, last but not least, the system will fit into the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum at the public schools.  A real-time monitor has been installed at the high school that allows students to watch the system in operation.  The project will provide teachers with a variety of tools, across multiple disciplines, for teaching students about clean renewable energy.

Here is Rob Busler, of Standard Solar, giving an introductory lesson on solar power to a group of Kent County students.

Check out the article about the project at the Chestertown Spy.

Briggs Cunningham is Climate Action Coordinator at the Center for Environment & Society, and can be reached here.


3 comments:

  1. Awesome!!!! Very happy to see another helping hand for the green community! The sooner we teach the young'n, the sooner we save this planet. They won't know, if we don't show!

    -Sharone Tal
    Solar Installer Boston

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