University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Installs 11,000-panel Solar Array to Cut Emissions

Solar Array

(Credit: Unsplash)

by | Apr 25, 2018

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The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s (UMCES) Horn Point Laboratory has unveiled a 2 MW solar array, designed to offset the CO2 emissions from 2,850 pounds of coal burned.

The university partnered with Standard Solar to install the 11,000-panel system that has an expected first year generation exceeding 4,000 megawatt hours of solar renewable energy. Standard Solar financed the project through a power purchase agreement (PPA) and will maintain and operate the solar array in exchange for the use of land. In turn, UMCES will purchase the equivalent energy being generated over the next 20 years from the array.

UMCES was also awarded a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration’s Solar PV Canopy with EV Charger Grant Program to include four level-II electrical vehicle charging stations with a carport. Work on the carport and charging stations was done simultaneously with the ground-mount array and are currently in operation and providing parking for about 46 vehicles.

Other Universities Turning to Renewables

In February, Harvard University announced its goal to be fossil-fuel-free by 2050, according to a new plan based on recommendations from a task force made up of students, faculty members, and senior administrators.

“An analysis done by the task force found that the full scope of damages associated with Harvard using fossil fuels to provide the energy services it needs to perform its mission are at least $25 million a year,” task force co-chair and Harvard Kennedy School professor Bill Clark told the Harvard Gazette. He added that most of that is due to climate impacts and the rest is related to the human health effects of other pollutants.

The goal is in line with the 2050 standard set by Boston and Cambridge for local institutions and companies, task force co-chair and Harvard Business School professor Rebecca M. Henderson said in a Q&A with Clark for the Gazette.

In December 2017, it was announced that a deteriorated, decommissioned 104-year-old heating plant on the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus was resurrected as a cutting-edge “co-generation” — or combined heat and power — utility that is 83% energy-efficient, which is more than double the efficiency of a coal-fired power plant.

The University of Minnesota has reinvested in the former Old Main Heating Plant, replacing old boilers with a new 22.8-megawatt combustion turbine and heat recovery system that will generate electric power and steam for the Minneapolis campus.

In October 2017, Howard University announced it had completed an exterior LED retrofit project to save money, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and improve safety on campus, the university announced. The project received funding from the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) and was completed by contractor GB Energie LED, an African-American, woman-owned business based in Washington, DC, that provides lighting for several sectors such as education, government, commercial, and industrial.


Getting It Done: Vendors Mentioned Above

Standard Solar

GB Energie LED


The 3rd Annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference takes place May 15 – 17, 2018 in Denver. Learn more here.



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