Case Studies:

Salisbury University

  • System Specs | 541.8 kW
  • System Production | The network of solar electricity systems contains 1,548 modules and will produce 769,100 kilowatt hours of electricity annually
  • Environmental Benefits | From a sustainability standpoint, the system will produce about 769,100 kWh of solar electricity annually, thereby offsetting 631 tons of greenhouse gases yearly. 

Salisbury Secures Solar Savings On the Eastern Shore

Thanks to the ownership and in-house financing ability of Standard Solar, Salisbury University deepened the commitment to environmental sustainability it started more than six years ago.

Salisbury (Md.) University, founded in 1922 as a teacher’s college, remains as committed to education now as it was then. Currently a four-year accredited university with master’s and doctorate programs, its progressive curriculum has long offered students an opportunity to grow their understanding of the world around them.

Specifically, the university has demonstrated a long-term commitment to helping students understand the world through the lens of environmental stewardship. From the degree in environmental studies it offers its students to its nationally recognized arboretum, Salisbury University doesn’t just talk about its commitment to protecting the environment—it lives it.

Nearly a year before Tesla’s Model S first rolled off the assembly line, for example, the school unveiled its first electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations in 2011, which were the first publicly available EV stations on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. In 2016, the university decided to add additional EV stations, but this time with a twist: They wanted to power them with solar electricity, produced by four parking canopies.

The university also hoped to provide three other educational buildings with the additional electricity.

As with most institutions of higher learning in today’s challenging economy, funding the groundbreaking canopies and charging stations would be the most challenging portion of the project. Fortunately, Salisbury was able to find a company that could put all those concerns to rest without any outside help. That company was Standard Solar.

World-Class Efficiency

With breathtaking speed—the carports were announced in May 2017 and was operational in August of that year—Standard Solar worked with Salisbury University to complete the financing, installation and interconnection of the project quickly and efficiently.

What allowed Standard Solar to compress what can often be a time-consuming and arduous process was its in-house capabilities, including its $300 million financing pool provided by its parent, international energy giant Énergir, "the new Gaz Métro".

Having its financing mechanism in-house allows Standard Solar to streamline the actual construction and commissioning of the system by taking some of the client’s most pressing concerns out of the equation, including finding money in the budget to fund the project.

The speed with which the project was completed is a tribute to the cutting-edge technology that featured a double cantilever, which can be applied to any parking lot configuration irrespective of parking spot width or drive aisle dimensions.

The new technology provides the opportunity to do much of the construction on the ground, including module and inverter wiring. Once the bases are constructed, canopies are lifted by crane for final installation, minimizing overhead work and optimizing worksite safety.

Finally, Standard Solar’s experience in working with educational institutions allowed them to anticipate challenges before they appeared, keeping schedule changes, work delays and engineering “emergencies” to a minimum.

“Standard Solar’s extensive experience was evident in how efficiently the project was completed,” said Wayne Shelton, Salisbury’s director of campus sustainability and environmental safety.

Worry-Free Future

The system, made up of 1,548 modules, covers a parking lot to provide shade for the University’s Parking Lot H and provide power to the adjacent educational buildings.

It is producing 769,100 kilowatt hours of electricity annually—enough electricity to power three university residence halls: Manokin, Pocomoke and Wicomico.

Thanks to its partnership with Standard Solar, Salisbury University doesn’t have to worry about operating or managing the system itself for at least 20 years. According to the agreement, Standard Solar will own, operate and maintain the system for that amount of time, at which point the system will be the school’s.

For such peace of mind, the school will pay Standard Solar for the electricity it uses from the array, freeing up the school’s administration and faculty to focus their energies on educating their students.

The solar-electricity system will also provide educational opportunities for the school’s Department of Environmental because there will be an educational kiosk in Conway Hall that will show visitors both the real-time and historical production of the system.

“There’s something particularly rewarding about helping an educational institution make a solar commitment that will affect its current and future students,” said Scott Wiater, president and CEO of Standard Solar. “It’s part of our mission to spread solar as far as we can, and reaching current students with an example of how solar works in real life is invaluable to that mission.”

Salisbury (Md.) University wanted a high-profile, visible project that would further align its commitment to environmental sustainability and educational rigor with actions.

In conjunction with financial and technical support from its partner Standard Solar, the university was able to install a 541.8 kilowatt (kW) solar system featuring four solar canopies and five electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, along with an educational kiosk in adjacent Conway Hall that will allow students and others to see exactly how much electricity the canopy is producing in real time and cumulatively.

The network of solar electricity systems contains 1,548 modules and will produce 769,100 kilowatt hours of electricity annually—enough electricity to power 51 percent of the electricity used by Holloway Hall, 34 percent of the consumption in Fulton Hall or 32 percent of Conway Hall.
From a sustainability standpoint, the system will produce about 769,100 kWh of solar electricity annually, thereby offsetting 631 tons of greenhouse gases yearly. This offset is the equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 674 acres of U.S. forest or the amount of CO2 generated in the production of the grid-supplied electricity used by 62 average American homes in a typical year.

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