Dorchester Co. Pub. Schools Unveil Solar Array At Mace's Middle - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Dorchester Co. Pub. Schools Unveil Solar Array At Mace's Middle

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CAMBRIDGE, Md. – It appears Dorchester County Schools are making big strides to reduce their carbon footprint - they're teaming up with energy companies in an effort to preserve the environment.

3,726 solar panels now blanket a field next to Mace's Lane Middle School. The project is expected to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which is equivalent to planting more than 35,000 pine trees or avoiding the use of nearly 2 million gallons of gasoline over a 20 year span.

Washington Gas Energy Systems funded the approximately $2.5 million dollar and will own and operate the solar array.

"This project required no up front investment from taxpayers of Dorchester County," Superintendent of Schools Dr. Henry Wagner said.

We're told the school will save nearly $80,000 per year.

"They get predictable energy power pricing for 20 years, so they know how much they're going to pay for the power that comes from here. They don't have to worry about it. And with that additional money, they can invest - whether they hire new teachers or more technology for the kids. They can take those savings and really put them to use in the county system," Vice President of Business Development at Washington Gas Energy Systems Sanjiv Mahan said.

The solar panel field not only saves taxpayer dollars and reduces school emissions, it teaches students a valuable lesson.

"Teachers across disciplines have the opportunity to reference the energy crisis that we have in our country and in our world. This solar field is an innovative example of coping with these issues. The solar panels serve as a living model and a field trip you don't have to take somewhere to see these concepts in action," Dr. Wagner said.

The ground-mounted panels were installed between October and December of 2012. Kenyon Energy and REC Solar designed and installed the system. The panels will help power the middle school under a 20-year power purchasing agreement with Washington Gas Energy Systems.

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