Friends School, Solar Power Get Chummy

The Sandy Spring Friends School in Sandy Spring, Md., is making a seriously earth-friendly improvement to its pre-K through 12 coed college prep curriculum: 2,000 solar panels on its 140-acre campus. The Quaker school has announced plans to install a 473.7 -kilowatt capacity, ground-mounted, grid-tied solar photovoltaic system with an estimated annual output of 600,790 kilowatt-hours, avoiding 414 metric tons of carbon, equivalent to taking 82 passenger vehicles off the road per year.

UGI Performance Solutions is the developer behind the project, while Maryland-based Standard Solar will handle design and installation come June.  SSFS has entered into a power purchase agreement with UGI (which will be responsible for the maintenance of the system),  giving the school access to clean, solar-based electricity at a fixed cost over the life of the system,  lowering its operational overhead.

Sandy Spring Friends School

image via Sandy Spring Friends School

The installation is in keeping with the school’s overall commitment to the environment, as evidenced by projects like its new community garden and recycling and composting programs. (The school holds this commitment to be in keeping with core Quaker values, which also include service, the peaceful resolution of conflict, integrity, simplicity, and equality.) Sandy Spring Friends School also emphasizes sustainability in its education and curriculum planning as well as its land use.

“Solar installations are a great fit for educational institutions, providing significant economic and environmental benefits as well as offering educational opportunities for the students,” Scott Wiater, president, Standard Solar, in a statement. He goes on to note that these kinds of project can influence future leaders even as they help schools and students take a step forward in terms of environmental stewardship.


Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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