University Park Community Solar LLC – the First Community Solar Power Initiative
3/16/2015 By: Yury Higuchi, Intern, Urban Sustainability Laboratory
In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint the University Park community in Maryland established a solar power generation plant for member residents.
Considered to be the first community-initiated solar power system, the University Park Community Solar (UPCS) LLC is a for-profit company. In 2008, UPCS became a registered Maryland LLC with the objective of organizing, financing, installing, and managing a community solar electric generating facility in the neighborhood. UPCS residents with a distributive energy generation option they did not previously have. Most of these members were renters or had poor solar access or orientation.
UPCS at first had difficulty finding a host site with a viable roof and a cooperative owner. On May 19, 2010, Standard Solar, Inc. worked with the University Park Church of the Brethren to launch the first panel. Standard Solar installed 22.77 kilowatt of a photovoltaic (PV) system using 230-watt Sharp panels made in the United States. 35 members each pooled on average $4,000 for this investment.
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