The Washington Waldorf School Goes Solar

Bethesda, Maryland (6/15/21): The Washington Waldorf School (WWS) a PreK through Grade 12 independent school in Bethesda, MD has launched a new sustainable initiative: solar! In May 2021, WWS flipped the switch on solar panels with an estimated output of 279,800 kilowatt hours. The 577 panel rooftop system will provide electricity for the school and any excess power generated will feed into the grid. According to the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator, these kilowatt hours are equivalent to the carbon offset of 43 cars driven for one year, the carbon sequestration of 243 acres of U.S. forests for one year, or greenhouse gas emissions avoided if 67.4 tons of waste were recycled rather than added to a landfill.

WWS has a long history of teaching the importance of environmental stewardship and looking for sustainable choices to support the day to day operations of the school. In addition to the solar panels, WWS’s sustainability efforts include rain barrels, composting, native plant rain gardens, class gardens, and WWS has been a recipient of the Montgomery County Recycling Achievement Award in multiple years.

The Chairman of the WWS Trustees Council, Eric Holdsworth, said “This is a very exciting development for the school. Being able to generate sustainable electricity fits perfectly with our values as a Waldorf school, and is a great way for the school to help keep our planet livable.”  

The solar system project was done in close collaboration with Montgomery County. The county shared their excitement for the project with this statement: “Montgomery County has maintained a long-term relationship with the Washington-Waldorf School viaInstallation was done in partnership with NextGrid and Solar Gaines.  the Closed School program. The School has initiated many improvements to improve the efficiency of building systems and enhancing the onsite stormwater management to control runoff. We are very pleased with all the sustainability efforts that the Washington-Waldorf School has undertaken, the addition of the solar project is a very valuable step in improving the climate impact of buildings.”

NextGrid’s goal is to accelerate the deployment of distributed renewable energy by developing and operating distributed solar energy and storage projects. Baltimore-based installer Solar Gaines has made it its mission to improve the way people and companies in our area consume and pay for electricity.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a 2020 report shows that there has been a steep increase in school solar power adoption. This helps manage rising costs of conventional energy and, for WWS in particular, it is another demonstration of their commitment to environmental sustainability.