One of the benefits of solar power purchase agreements is that they enable nonprofits, who are otherwise unable to take advantage of tax-based incentives for renewable energy, to cost-effectively install solar energy systems. Thanks to a collaboration with Washington Gas Energy Services (WGES) and Bithenergy, Chimes International, a nonprofit provider of services and support for people with disabilities, has recently commissioned a 70-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system at its headquarters in Baltimore.
The installation will meet 60-70 percent of the facility’s electricity demands, making it one of the largest nonprofit facilities in the United States to draw most of its electricity from renewable energy resources, and the largest PV system in Baltimore. The system consists of a total of 3,000 PV panels in three rooftop arrays, one large ground-mounted system, standalone solar-powered outdoor lighting systems and an electric vehicle charging station. The project was designed, engineered and constructed by Bithenergy, a Baltimore-based consulting and energy services company, which will operate and maintain the system for WGES. Chimes will purchase the electricity generated by the system from WGES under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
Chimes has also implemented aggressive energy conservation efforts at many of its facilities in Maryland, the mid-Atlantic and Israel, including weatherization efforts, installing more energy-efficient light fixtures and appliances, and promoting energy conservation practices to its employees and clients. Chimes estimates that these efforts have saved the organization about $80,000 each year.
“Chimes is taking a bold step towards reducing its dependence on the electrical grid by using renewable energy resources,” said Robert L. Wallace, president and CEO of Bithenergy. “This project should serve as an inspiration to other nonprofit and for-profit businesses throughout Baltimore and beyond that solar power is a practical alternative and can improve their bottom line.”