School Gets Creative To Pay For Solar Panels | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

Filed Under:

School Gets Creative To Pay For Solar Panels

Play associated audio

By Sabri Ben-Achour

Though the cost of solar energy has come down over the years, it remains a big road block. But one of the area’s leading private schools has found it's own creative way of paying for it.

On the roof of the gym at Sidwell Friends' lower school in Bethesda, Maryland, 120 solar panels are about to be installed. It's going to cost more than $200,000. But, "this is a no cash deal for us," says Chief Financial Officer Mike Saxenian.

The school is creating an investment opportunity out of the panels, calling it a solar bond. Parents, alumni and friends buy shares in the system. The school pays them for the electricity. Because the investors are individuals, they are eligible for certain grants and incentives that aren't available to schools, says Saxenian.

Power companies in search of offsets can also pay them for what are called Renewable Energy Certificates.

The result is a 3 percent return on investment in 10 years. After that, the investors donate the panels to the school and get a tax deduction for it.

Kirk Renaud runs Common Cents Solar, a non-profit that's helping the school go solar.

"We think it's a great model for any type of situation where there's a community asset - a recreation center, a church, a synagogue, school," he says.

The school says its solar panels will offset approximately 1 million tons of greenhouse gases.

NPR

Mexican TV Icon Roberto Gómez Bolaños Dies At 85

The actor, writer and director was a staple of Mexican television comedies and children's programs for decades.
NPR

From Humble Salt To Fancy Freezing: How To Up Your Cocktail Game

You don't need to have liquid nitrogen at your next cocktail party — but it's certainly a sure-fire way to impress your guests. Expert mixologist Dave Arnold walks you through it.
NPR

Week In Politics: Hagel's Resignation, Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution and David Brooks of the New York Times about the grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson and the resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
NPR

Millennial Doctors May Be More Tech-Savvy, But Is That Better?

Text messages from your doctor are just the start. Millennials are the next generation of doctors and they're not afraid to say "chillax" in a consultation or check Twitter to find medical research.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.