SUSTAINABILITY AND COMPLIANCE → Renewable Energy
Over the past decade, Montgomery County Public
Schools (MCPS) has become a leader among Maryland
school districts in hosting net-metered solar power
purchase agreements (PPA). The Department of
Facilities Management has PPA contracts that allow
MCPS to host the operation of solar photovoltaic (PV)
structures at no cost to the school system. As part of
the agreements, a solar developer installs, owns, and
maintains the solar array and sells power at a
reduced rate directly to MCPS. Sites have been
selected based on roof age, roof shading, building
orientation, and financial considerations.
Currently, MCPS has 17 solar PV locations with a
total estimated capacity of 4.1 megawatts (MW)
direct current installed.
On a hot summer
afternoon, solar panels
can supply 20–50% of a host school’s
energy needs. Each year, MCPS saves
more than $300,000 thanks
to the solar energy
Solar Energy Videos
Renewable energy credits (RECs) represent carbon offsets from
clean or renewable energy sources, primarily wind and solar generators. Since
2005, MCPS has purchased clean renewable energy credits (RECs), and will
continue to increase this amount in future years. As of 2021, MCPS
purchases 38% of our electricity from renewable energy sources.
Montgomery County Public Schools piloted the first geothermal system in 2001. Currently, 32 schools are being heated and cooled with the geothermal systems. Geothermal, also known as geo-exchange, heating,
and cooling systems, is one of the most energy-efficient and
environmentally safe space-conditioning systems available.
While temperatures above ground change a lot from day
to day and season to season, the temperature 10 feet below
the earth’s surface holds nearly constant between 50 and 60
degrees Fahrenheit. For most areas, this means that the soil temperatures are usually warmer than the air in winter and cooler
than the air in summer. [USGBC]. The geothermal system harvests the constant ground
temperature and uses the earth’s mass to store energy to heat
and cool buildings. Energy is transferred through an underground piping system between the building and ground to
provide year-round heating and cooling.