Sandy Spring Friends School (SSFS), a pre-K through 12 co-ed college preparatory Quaker school in Montgomery County, has announced plans to install more than 2,000 solar panels on the school’s 140-acre campus.
The 473.7-kW solar PV system will be ground-mounted and grid tied with an estimated output of 600,790 kWh. The estimated carbon offset of a system this size is 414 metric tons which is equal to almost 82 passenger vehicles per year and 963 barrels of oil consumed.
The project, expected to begin in June, is being developed by the Pennsylvania energy solutions provider, UGI Performance Solutions. Maryland-based Standard Solar, Inc, a leader in the development and installation of solar electric systems for commercial, government and residential customers, will design and install the project. The system will be owned by UGI Energy Services, with whom the school has entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA). The PPA will enable the school to use the electricity generated by the system for a fixed cost, lowering their utility bills.
“The SSFS community is delighted to work with Standard Solar and UGI to install one of the largest solar projects in Montgomery County on our beautiful 140 acre campus,” said Tom Gibian, Head of School. “Solar power, in its simplicity and efficiency, and as a substitute to purchasing electricity generated from the burning conventional fossil fuels, will become part of our curriculum (science, technology and entrepreneurism), will save us money and reflects our intention to practice good stewardship of our natural resources.”
The solar installation is the latest step in the school’s commitment to sustainability. As a Friends school that emphasizes the Quaker values of service, the peaceful resolution of conflict, integrity, simplicity, equality, and stewardship of the environment, SSFS has long demonstrated its commitment to sustainability in many areas of its operation, from education and curriculum planning to land use, recycling and composting programs. When it comes to environmental sustainability, SSFS’s longstanding commitment shines particularly bright.
Projects such as the new community garden on campus and the solar panels will provide both food and clean, renewable power to the school, as well as learning opportunities for the students and community.
“Solar installations are a great fit for educational institutions, providing significant economic and environmental benefits as well as offering educational opportunities for the students,” Scott Wiater, president, Standard Solar. “This kind of project can influence future leaders while helping the Sandy Spring community and its students take another step forward in their environmental stewardship.”