September 02, 2011
Governor Martin O'Malley today celebrated the opening of the latest commercial-scale solar array at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), showcasing a new array of 2,600 solar panels placed atop the university's Severn Building. The new solar facility is one of the largest in the region, and will produce 792 megawatt-hours of clean electricity each year -- enough to equal the energy consumption of 64 homes. The solar facility was partially funded by the state, as part of the O'Malley Administration's Project Sunburst, which was designed to leverage private capital and thus enable governments across Maryland to make investments in clean, renewable energy resources with no upfront costs. At the same time, it saves taxpayers money by immediately reducing electricity bills at government facilities.
“I am pleased that Dr. Loh and the University of Maryland, College Park continue to lead the way in sustainability,” said Governor O’Malley. “A modern economy requires modern investments. Together, we can create jobs through innovation and make real progress towards our goal of generating 20% of our state’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2022. With projects like this new solar array, we can power our way into a better, more balanced, more directed and more connected future.“
"This new Maryland solar array is a terrific example of the green power that can be generated by government, industry and university collaborations," said University of Maryland President Wallace Loh. "The University of Maryland is deeply committed to sustainable practices and reducing its carbon footprint. Creating this new solar facility together with the O'Malley-Brown Administration, Washington Gas Energy Services and Standard Solar advances these university goals, while benefiting the economy and environment of the state and region."
The University of Maryland College Park was selected as a Project Sunburst Partner by the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) in the spring of 2010 and was awarded $630,000 for the project. The University signed a contract to host the system that will be owned by Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. (WGES) and was installed by Standard Solar, Inc. The project will produce approximately 792 MWh of electricity in the first year, equal to taking 79 cars off the road, and avoiding 408 tons of CO2 emissions.
“The University of Maryland, College Park solar project adds 630 kW to our rapidly growing portfolio of solar project partnerships with educational institutions and others,” said Harry Warren, President of WGES. “We commend President Loh and the University’s Office of Sustainability for their leadership in renewable energy, MEA, our federal policy makers for the grant funding to support the project, and the Governor’s continued support of competitive electricity markets that allow companies like WGES to invest in cleaner, more efficient energy sources. Schools across Maryland realize that a solar project not only makes environmental and financial sense, but also provides a valuable educational experience to transform students into renewable energy leaders.”
"We applaud the commitment that UMD has made to make its campus more efficient and sustainable. This project is a significant step toward embracing renewable energy and Standard Solar is excited to have played an integral role in its development," said Tony Clifford, CEO, Standard Solar.
UMD is one of 16 Project Sunburst projects to come online since the program started. To date, 9 systems are operational with a combined capacity of 5.2 MW. The rest of the projects are anticipated to come online by the end of the year, bringing the program total to 9.15 MW.
“By making smart investments and leveraging federal funds with private dollars, Maryland is leading by example in the new innovation economy,” said Malcolm Woolf, Director of the Maryland Energy Administration. “Investing in renewable energy sources is a triple-win for Maryland by creating new green jobs, reducing long term energy bills, and protecting our environment for generations to come.”
Project Sunburst–a forward thinking program that uses federal funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to leverage private investment in clean, renewable energy–has succeeded in nearly doubling the amount of solar energy produced in Maryland. Maryland’s investment of $9.3 million in federal funds has spurred more than $36 million in private investment, resulting in state and local governments creating more than 80 jobs and installing roughly 40,000 U.S. manufactured solar panels in Maryland
About Standard Solar
Standard Solar, Inc. is a national leader in the full-service development, construction, integration, financing and installation of solar electric systems. Dedicated to making solar solutions more accessible to consumers, businesses, institutions and governments, the company is leading the way to energy independence. Committed to offering responsible and energy cost-saving solar solutions that conform to the highest standards, Standard Solar is one of the most trusted and respected solar companies. Since 2004, Standard Solar has been the partner of choice to make solar energy financially accessible, helping customers through financing options, including Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and navigating expanded federal and state and local tax credits. The company's Standard Energy Solutions (SES) division provides energy auditing and retrofitting services for energy improvement projects. Named one of the Fastest Growing Private Companies in America in 2010 and 2011 by Inc. magazine, Standard Solar is headquartered in Rockville, MD. For more information, please visit www.standardsolar.com.
About Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc.
Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. is one of the largest competitive providers of electricity and natural gas in the mid-Atlantic region and supplies more than 350,000 customers in Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Headquartered in Herndon, Va., Washington Gas Energy Services is an affiliate of Washington Gas and a subsidiary of WGL Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:WGL). For more information on how WGES can make solar power a reality for you, contact Nate Greenberg, 703-288-3614 x29, or e-mail email@example.com.
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