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Weather report Fairfax

Renewable Energy in FCPS

Renewable energy is becoming an increasingly appealing option for school divisions looking to save on energy costs while minimizing environmental impacts. One immediate benefit of renewable energy is that it can be more affordable than electricity from fossil fuels. Installing solar panels can decrease schools’ electricity rates and shield them from fluctuating energy prices. For teachers, renewable energy is an excellent hands-on educational tool for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. For these reasons, FCPS recently amended its Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to expand the division’s commitment towards renewable energy resources.  FCPS will continue to assess the viability of renewable energy for future projects, addressing each on a case by case basis.

Solar Energy in FCPS

  Roof-mounted solar panels Ground-mounted solar panels
 

Rooftop solar panels at Rachel Carson Middle School

Ground-mounted solar panels at Franklin Sherman Elementary School

   
 

FCPS currently has five schools with solar installations: roof-mounted photo-voltaic solar arrays paid for through grants and fundraising at Rachel Carson Middle School and Frost Middle School, roof-mounted solar installations for solar thermal heating of potable (drinkable) water at Glasgow Middle School and Thomas Jefferson High School, and a ground-mounted photo-voltaic array at Franklin Sherman Elementary. These projects do not supply significant amounts of energy to the schools but serve as useful educational tools.

 

More FCPS schools are poised to have solar arrays installed since FCPS signed onto the Fairfax County Government’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).  Through the PPA, a solar company will install and maintain solar panels on FCPS buildings.  FCPS will buy the solar power generated by the solar arrays instead of paying the utility company for the electricity.  The cost of the solar panels is paid off through the electric rates FCPS will pay.  The solar PPA companies are submitting their proposals in summer 2019 and contracts will be awarded later in 2019.  Criteria for selection of schools that will have solar arrays installed include roof warranties and life expectancies, types of systems, how much weight the roof can hold, existing rooftop equipment, roof slope and orientation to the sun, shading, and rain water flow.