Located in Bethesda, MD, the country’s first LEED certified school is continuing its commitment to energy efficiency and environmental education through the installation of a renewable energy system. The Sidwell Friends Lower School plans to install a 27.6 kW photovoltaic system in time for the start of the 2010 fall semester.

In order to finance the project, the school turned to Common Cents Solar – a community co-op that helps homeowners and non-profits finance solar projects. CCS worked with Sidwell Friends School to create the Friends Solar Fund, which consists mostly of parents at the school and local community members. Each member will have partial ownership over the system through the purchase of “solar bonds”. The solar bonds are repaid through tax incentives, the sale of electricity produced by the panels, and the sale of SRECs.

The creative Common Cents Solar “solar bond” approach is a win for all parties involved. It allows members of the Friends Solar Fund to recoup their investment while the Sidwell Friends School can take advantage of fixed electricity rates protected against rising energy costs. Most importantly, the school will not pay any installation costs. Once the cost of the system has been recovered, the panels will be donated to the school under a tax-deductible charitable donation.

Common Cents Solar focuses on implementing community-based development strategies for acquiring solar energy. For more information on the non-profit organization, please click here.

Sol Systems will work with CCS to provide long-term SREC financing for the 27.6 kW installation. Sol Systems is proud to be part of the effort to implement creative financing solutions to install more solar systems within the local DC community. For a complete listing of SREC financing options with Sol Systems, please click here.