No-Cost Solar for One of Maryland’s Largest School Districts

In 2013, Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) committed to aggressive sustainability goals and were able to move ahead with a 1.4 MW ground-mount array with in-house funding from Standard Solar. Additionally, the project site presented several unique logistical and design challenges that Standard Solar’s experienced engineering team overcame thanks to years of experience with complex commercial solar installations.

In-House Funding Fuels Energy-Use Reductions

Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) is the fifth-largest public school district in Maryland. At any one time, it is educating approximately 82,000 students in its 125 schools, shepherded by its administrative staff spread over nine buildings.

With more than 13.4 million square feet of facility space and a $26 million utility budget, reducing the district’s energy consumption was attractive for budgetary reasons — renewable energy from solar offered AACPS utility cost savings as well as sustainability benefits. AACPS, under a long-term, 25-year Power Purchase Agreement with Standard Solar, only pays for the electricity it uses and at a reduced rate.

Delivering Solar Solutions That Solve Complex Engineering Challenges

Located on six acres of school system-owned land at the Fort Smallwood Facilities complex in Pasadena, MD, the space presented complex site configuration challenges that the Standard Solar engineering team worked diligently to overcome. And on Aug. 16, the school district held a ribbon-cutting celebration on its 1.4 MW ground-mounted solar array.

The completed project features nearly 4,000 panels that will produce 1,971 MWh of electricity annually. According to the school’s calculations, it will also offset more than 41,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. That is equivalent to driving a car around the earth 3,971 times or one year of carbon dioxide emissions from 4,357 homes.

George Arlotto, AACPS Superintendent of Schools said the new array brings the school closer to cutting its energy 20 percent by 2021.

“This is a great day for our school system and our county,” Arlotto said at the ribbon-cutting. “As we teach our students the importance of environmental stewardship, this is one big way in which we can lead by example.”