Maryland’s leading nonprofit organization serving people with differing abilities, Melwood, is expanding its sustainability efforts through the installation of a 930-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system at its seven-acre campus that serves as the organization’s headquarters in Upper Marlboro. Standard Solar, Inc., a leading solar energy company specializing in the development and financing of solar electric systems nationwide, developed the project and is installing the system.
Totaling nearly one megawatt, the system features a 1,335 panel rooftop array, six carport arrays and an electrical vehicle (EV) charging station and is expected to save the nonprofit more than $1 million over the next 20 years.
“As a result of our solar conversion project Melwood will dramatically reduce our energy consumption, carbon footprint and re-direct dollars previously spent on overhead costs into our service programs,” said Cari DeSantis, President and CEO of Melwood. “This is a great example of Melwood’s strategic efforts to modernize our infrastructure, enhance service programming and expand our capabilities.”
At 517kW, the carport will be one of the largest in Maryland and will feature an EV charging station serving up to four parking spaces. The complete system, including the rooftop and carport, will produce enough energy to offset nearly all of the electricity usage at the Melwood campus. Through Maryland’s Aggregate Net Metering regulations, the energy generated by the system, across all seven of Melwood’s electric meters, will be credited to the nonprofit’s multiple electricity accounts.
“Melwood does such important work for the community here in Maryland, this was a special project for our team at Standard Solar,” said Tony Clifford, CEO, Standard Solar. “The system is expected to save the organization as much as $50,000 a year which can be used to fund more programs for individuals with differing abilities, furthering their mission and vision.”
The system is being funded by WGL Energy through a Power Purchase Agreement, with additional funding for the solar carport provided through the Parking Lot Solar PV Canopy with Electric Vehicle Charger Grant Program grant from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA), requiring no upfront investment from Melwood.
“MEA is pleased that the money Melwood saves in energy costs from the solar canopy will strengthen Melwood’s ability to serve and support individuals with disabilities,” said Devon Dodson, Acting Director, MEA. “We hope that this solar array inspires a wider range of individuals to seek renewable energy careers and add to Maryland’s growing solar industry.”
The arrays, which combined are expected to produce 1,202,000 kilowatt-hours of power per year, will offset 829 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually which is equal to the amount of CO2 emissions sequestered each year by a 679 acre U.S. forest.