The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Standard Solar marked the beginning of a partnership to bring sustainable energy to the Horn Point Laboratory campus with a groundbreaking ceremony. Standard Solar will install a 10-acre solar field on campus that will generate approximately 50% of the Horn Point Laboratory's annual energy consumption. UMCES has also received a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration to install four vehicle-charging stations under a new solar canopy on campus.
“Higher education has a key role in shaping a sustainable society. It’s essential that we lead by example,” said UMCES president Don Boesch, who has led the University System of Maryland’s Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Initiative since 2008.
UMCES signed an agreement this spring with Standard Solar to install the solar field. The 2MW system has an expected approximate annual generation of 3.5 MWh of solar renewable energy. The solar field is expected be in-service by the spring of 2018.
The project is a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in which Standard Solar installs and operates the solar panels in exchange for the use of land. UMCES agrees to purchase the equivalent energy being generated over the next 20 years from Standard Solar.
The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is a signatory to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (Second Nature) and has launched several programs aimed at reducing our environmental footprint, including setting goals for reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions at each of our laboratories, upgrading aging infrastructure to newer, more energy-efficient alternatives, and building all new campus buildings to at least the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Silver standard or equivalent.
“The solar field is another example of how we are using innovative ways to manage Horn Point Laboratory in a way that reduces our environmental footprint and engages with the community,” said Mike Roman, director of the Horn Point Laboratory. This project also contributes to increasing Maryland’s in-state distributed electricity generation capacity and reducing the dependency on electricity imported from other states.
UMCES has also been selected to receive a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration’s Solar PV Canopy with EV Charger Grant Program to offset the cost of four level-II electrical vehicle charging stations on campus. Work begins on the project this fall.