Henderson-Hopkins school, Constellation partner for East Baltimore solar project

There's a new kind of energy being generated at the Henderson-Hopkins school.

The K-8 Baltimore City public school, operated by the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, and Constellation have announced the completion of a 178-kilowatt DC solar generation project, the second (and largest) unveiled at a Baltimore City school.

"Henderson-Hopkins pursues the most contemporary, effective approaches to educating our students, so it is only fitting that we would take the same approach to powering our building," says Katrina Foster, principal of the East Baltimore school. "The new solar power system will help us share the importance of sustainability with our community and serve as an educational resource for our students to learn about renewable energy."

The project required no upfront capital from Henderson-Hopkins—Constellation financed the project's development and owns and operates the solar power system, including the solar renewable energy credits. Henderson-Hopkins will purchase the electricity generated by the solar panels through a 15-year power purchase agreement with Constellation.

"Renewable energy is a key part of our energy future, and this installation will help students develop an understanding of how it is generated," says Andy Frank, special adviser to JHU President Ronald J. Daniels on economic development and a member of the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners. "Henderson-Hopkins will also see a significant, long-term reduction in expected energy costs."

The project will offer real-time data-monitoring capabilities that will be integrated into the school curriculum to help students learn how solar electricity works and about the benefits of renewable energy. Students will be able to observe how solar energy is used to deliver electricity to their school and be introduced to potential careers in the STEM fields.

During the construction of the project, job trainees from the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training shadowed solar installers and were provided an overview of career opportunities in the solar industry. Trainees interested in pursuing further solar job training were invited to enroll in the Civic Works Solar Job Training Program, which provides certification opportunities and pathways to paid internships.

The solar installation is composed of more than 600 photovoltaic panels that cover approximately 10 percent of the building's roof and provide shade to 29 parking spaces. The solar facility is expected to generate approximately 230,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year. Generating the same amount of electricity using nonrenewable sources would result in the release of approximately 350,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent emissions from 34 passenger vehicles annually, according to U.S. EPA data for the region.