: 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

'Listen To Me Marlon' Explores Brando's Life In His Own Words

The documentary, Listen to Me Marlon, tells the story of legendary actor Marlon Brando through hours of personal audio recordings. NPR's Melissa Block talks to director Stevan Riley about the film.
NPR

Coffee Art: When A Spill Turns Into A Masterpiece

Ever splashed yourself with coffee? Then you know its staining powers. But where some see a ruined shirt, others have found a canvas.
NPR

U.S. Couple Held In Egyptian Prison For 1 Year Over Unfounded Child Abuse

An Egyptian-American and her husband have been held in Cairo prisons for more than a year. They're accused of abusing street children in the shelter they ran, but the government has shown little evidence and may be after them because of suspected political activity.
NPR

Debris Found In The Indian Ocean May Be From Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet

Investigators believe a piece of debris found on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean could be from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared in March 2014.

Leave a Comment

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