Dorchester County Public Schools will unveil its 803-kilowatt solar array at Mace’s Lane Middle School this morning at a recognition ceremony with representatives from Washington Gas Energy Systems, Kenyon Energy, REC Solar and the local community. The ground-mounted installation consists of 3,276 solar panels and is expected to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to the planting of more than 35,000 pine trees or avoiding the use of 1,780,000 gallons of gasoline over 20 years.
“The completion of this project means that Mace’s Lane Middle School will be powered by clean, renewable energy for the foreseeable future,” said Dorchester County Public Schools Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Henry V. Wagner, Jr. “Beyond the environmental impact, it presents a unique learning opportunity for students throughout the school district to get a hands-on lesson in green power and innovation.”
Washington Gas Energy Systems will own and operate the array under a 20-year power purchasing agreement. Kenyon Energy and REC Solar designed and installed the system. Dorchester County Public Schools provided the property for the system. The expected annual output of 1,108 megawatt hours will help provide power to Mace’s Lane Middle School.
“We were thrilled to work with Dorchester County Public Schools and continue to build upon renewable energy initiatives throughout Maryland,” said Sanjiv Mahan, vice president of business development for Washington Gas Energy Systems. “This solar array promises to reduce the school’s carbon footprint and utility costs over the next two decades.”Dorchester County Public Schools has long been a pioneer in environmental sustainability and stewardship of natural resources. Dorchester was the first school district in the state to use geothermal technology as a heating and cooling solution in its schools. To date, five facilities are using this innovative technology. Additionally, Dorchester County Public Schools has successfully led an effort to implement single stream recycling at all its district sites, cutting waste stream and hauling costs, supporting the use of renewable resources and extending the life of the county landfill. Other sustainability initiatives include the use of abundant, domestically produced natural gas for heating, wherever possible, and an energy management program that has saved the district over $1 million in avoided energy costs. Currently, the district is researching how to implement a green cleaning strategy to continue to support clean schools while further enhancing the learning environment for all facility users.