RGS Energy, the commercial and utility division of Real Goods Solar Inc., and Smart Energy Capital (SEC), are helping Church Farm School in Exton, Penn., save hundreds of thousands of dollars in utility costs, while significantly reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, with the installation of a 1.1-MW solar array to power its campus.
The $3.2 million project was paid for in part by a grant of $1.19 million from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The remaining balance of the system is being financed with a power purchase agreement (PPA) through SEC. RGS Energy will maintain and monitor the array.
The photovoltaic solar system, comprised of over 3,500 solar panels, is expected to produce nearly 1.5 million kWh of electricity per year. The clean power generated from the ground mount system, installed on five acres of school land, will supply approximately 75 percent of the school’s electrical needs and provide Church Farm students and faculty an on-site source of renewable energy and exposure to best practices in sustainability.
“Our students have a real life laboratory to explore and learn more about their energy future,” said Head of School, The Reverend Edmund K. Sherrill. “That we reduce our energy costs along the way is an added bonus since it will redirect dollars spent on energy to our school’s mission that provides such a great education at little to no cost.”
According to RGS Energy General Manager Tim Seamans: “Church Farm School’s solar installation sets a standard for other schools and businesses to follow. Solar energy is a truly cost effective way to reduce operating costs while reducing environmental impact.”
Over the system’s lifetime, the school will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by over 46 million pounds of CO2, which is the approximate equivalent of planting half a million trees or taking 52 million miles of automobile traffic off the road (according to the EPA calculator).
RGS Energy has designed and installed more than 50 MW of solar power on schools, universities and colleges across the nation.
— Solar Builder magazine