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A retirement community is reaping big benefits as the result of a massive solar panel installation in Baltimore.
The project, launched by ABM (NYSE: ABM) and owned by Washington Gas Energy Systems, spans a 1.2 megawatt solar array—one of the largest in the Baltimore metro area. Its 4,150 panels will generate 1.5 million kilowatt hours of energy annually, and will be sold to the owner of the land on which they are installed: Glen Meadows Retirement Community, a continuing care retirement community that is a subsidiary of Presbyterian Senior Living.
The benefits are many, with the community projecting roughly $700,000 in energy cost savings over the course of the 20-year power purchase agreement at a fixed, low-cost rate, but also in terms of sustainability for the community and resident satisfaction.
“Residents love the idea of green,” Presbyterian Senior Living Chief Financial Officer Jeff Davis told SHN. “They think it’s phenomenal. Once we shared [the idea], the residents were almost pushing us to get it done.”
The CCRC is set on 480 acres in Baltimore County, with just 30 acres that were actively utilized by the community, Davis says. The space and situation of the panels were agreeable both to the community and the surrounding neighbors because they are set back and not visible from the adjacent roadways.
“Sometimes there can be struggles with community [for this kind of project] but these are not visible from the road or general public,” Davis says. “It gave us a great place to absorb the sun.”
The project is one of many initiatives under way among Presbyterian Senior Living properties, and may pave the way for future green projects in the future.
The sustainability model is particularly beneficial to non-profit senior living operators like Presbyterian Senior Living versus new construction, Davis says, because many of the properties are older.
“Unlike a developer, as non-profit senior living providers, we have done business in some locations for 100 years,” he says. “The concept of long term sustainability is even more important.”
ABM touted the project success this week, following two months of successfully operating the installation.
“ABM is excited to have completed the first of many utility-scale solar development projects to come,” said Ted O’Shea, ABM energy business vice president in a statement. “We’ve made significant investments to increase our expertise in the development of renewable energy as a solution to reduce owning and operating costs and increase energy efficiency for our clients. We look forward to continuing to help other organizations obtain fixed-cost energy pricing while generating revenue for their facilities through our renewable energy solutions.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker