The National Aquarium in Baltimore, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures, announced a 25-year electricity supply agreement that will help the Aquarium better manage energy costs and encourage the development of renewable power in Maryland.
As part of the agreement, Constellation, a retail supplier of power, will fund, construct and operate a 4.3-megawatt (DC) grid-connected solar generation project in Cambridge, Md., developed with OneEnergy Renewables. Scheduled for completion in March 2015, the system is designed to generate an estimated 5.8 million kilowatt hours during its first year of operation, more than 40 percent of the Aquarium’s annual electricity needs. The Aquarium will receive solar renewable energy credits from the solar power system for a portion of the term of its electricity supply agreement.
“This agreement with Constellation allows us to ‘walk our talk’ as a conservation organization,” said John Racanelli, CEO of the National Aquarium. “Now, a significant percent of our electricity will come from clean, renewable energy. We hope this will help set a precedent for supporting large-scale, off-site projects and inspire others to take action.”
Additionally, the long-term power agreement enables the Aquarium to receive a fixed price for electricity supply equal to the amount of power generated by the solar facility while retaining the ability to purchase the remainder of its electricity supply at market rate under Constellation’s flexible index program.
“Constellation is pleased to continue to support the National Aquarium’s energy and environmental goals,” said Mark Huston, president of Constellation Retail. “Our power purchase agreement with the Aquarium demonstrates our commitment to developing products and services that give customers greater flexibility in managing their energy costs while supporting the use of clean, renewable energy.”
Solar firm OneEnergy Renewables, a project developer focused on middle-market (2 to 50 MW) projects, led the pre-construction development efforts for the solar power system.
“To date, corporate and institutional customers have primarily adopted solar through on-site, net-metered systems,” said Bryce Smith, CEO and co-founder of OneEnergy Renewables. “Now, new solutions enable the development of larger, optimally-sited projects that help organizations support and enjoy the economic benefits of solar at greater scale.”
The solar power system will be comprised of approximately 14,500 photovoltaic panels, located on approximately 22 acres. The electricity generated by the system is expected to avoid the release of 4,409 tons of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent emissions from 842 passenger vehicles according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data.