Renewable Energy in FCPS
Renewable energy is an increasingly appealing option for school divisions looking to save on energy costs while minimizing environmental impacts. 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 that can be incorporated into many content areas. For these reasons, FCPS recently amended its Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to expand the division’s commitment towards renewable energy resources.
Solar Energy in FCPS
|Rooftop Solar Array||Ground-mounted Solar Panels|
Rooftop solar array at Rachel Carson Middle School. Learn more about the solar panels at Carson and see how much energy they are generating!
Ground-mounted solar panels at Franklin Sherman Elementary School. Discover how much energy the solar panels are generating today!
FCPS currently has ten schools with solar installations. Roof-mounted photo-voltaic solar arrays paid for through grants and fundraising can be found at Rachel Carson Middle School, Frost Middle School, Canterbury Woods Elementary, Bailey’s Elementary School, and Thomas Jefferson High School. Roof-mounted solar installations for solar thermal heating of potable (drinkable) water can be found at Glasgow Middle School, West Springfield High School, and Thomas Jefferson High School. Franklin Sherman Elementary has a ground-mounted photo-voltaic array. Experimental instructional projects integrating technology include a solar powered wind turbine at Lanier Middle School and a chicken coop with solar panel heat at Twain Middle School. Although these projects do not supply large amounts of energy to the schools, they serve as valuable educational tools.
More FCPS schools will have arrays of solar panels installed with the adoption of a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in collaboration with the Fairfax County government. Through the PPA, a solar company will install and maintain solar panels on FCPS property. FCPS will purchase the solar power generated by the solar arrays instead of buying electricity generated from nonrenewable sources. 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. Alternative designs include canopy solar installations in high school parking areas.
Geothermal Energy in FCPS
Mason Crest ES, a repurposed administrative building, uses geothermal energy for heating and cooling. This geothermal system consists of a well field located under the ball fields near the playground. The geothermal system moves heat from the earth into the building in the winter and pulls heat from the building and discharges it into the ground in the summer.