September 18, 2017 – Georgetown and Origis Energy USA today announced a power purchase agreement to develop a 32.5-megawatt offsite solar power system that will provide almost 50 percent of campus electricity needs and help the university fulfill its sustainability mission.
The project reinforces Georgetown’s June 2017 announcement with other leading American universities reaffirming support of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the transition to a clean energy economy.
It also significantly contributes to Georgetown’s ongoing effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from campus operations.
Once the solar power system, developed, built and owned by Origis Energy, is constructed in La Plata, Maryland, it will provide for nearly half of Georgetown’s electricity load for campus operations.
Sustainability, Carbon Footprint Goals
“This strategic partnership with Origis supports Georgetown’s carbon footprint reduction goals while providing long-term energy price stability,” said Robin Morey, vice president for planning and facilities management.
Pending approval from the Maryland Public Service Commission and local permitting, the off-site solar facility will be located on 518 acres in Charles County, Maryland.
The Origis Energy design calls for the use of approximately 105,000 solar panel modules and will interconnect to the South Maryland Electric Cooperative transmission system.
The project will create approximately 200 jobs during construction, which is anticipated to start in early 2019 and be completed by summer 2019.
It is also expected to reduce carbon emissions equivalent to 28 million pounds of coal or planting over 600,000 trees – the amount of carbon sequestered by approximately 30,000 acres of forest.
“Our team is humbled to support Georgetown University’s pursuit of environmental excellence and leadership,” said Johan Vanhee, managing director of business development for Origis Energy. “We commend the university’s solar energy leadership in the nation’s capital and its mission to contribute to renewable energy intelligence globally.”
Throughout the term of the solar project’s Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Origis Energy will support undergraduate scholarships for students with demonstrated financial need.
The scholarship initiative is part of the Origis Energy Foundation project to create philanthropic programs suited to the needs of the communities in which the company’s solar installations are constructed.
"We are grateful to the Origis Energy Foundation for its generous support of our academic mission, which includes admitting the most qualified students regardless of their ability to pay," Morey says.
Since the late 1970s, Georgetown’s financial aid policies meet the full need of eligible students – regardless of their ability to pay – through a combination of grants, scholarships, employment and loans.
On-Site Solar Project
The new power purchase agreement follows a spring 2017 agreement with Community Renewable Energy (CRE) to install the largest rooftop solar system installation in the District of Columbia to date.
The on-site solar panels, in construction on six buildings this academic year, also will increase the university’s sustainability efforts and reduce costs as well as serve low-income residents in the city.
CRE will own the panels, environmental attributes and any incentives the system may provide, while Georgetown will use the power at a guaranteed price.
A portion of the revenue generated by that solar project will create a “community investment fund” to support clean energy projects in low-income areas of the District.