is set to become the first public school in Prince George's County with roof-mounted solar panels thanks to an agreement reached recently between STEP and county schools.
Administrators said the project, long in the works, should be ready to accept bids for preliminary engineering in the next few weeks.
“We are proud to partner with STEP in this groundbreaking initiative,” Superintendent of Schools William R. Hite in a statement. “Not only will the project reduce utility costs at University Park Elementary School, it will provide an ongoing opportunity for students to learn more about solar energy.”
The array could generate enough power to offset the energy consumption of up to seven homes, school officials said, citing estimates published by The Cooperator.
A three-year, $1.42 million federally-funded effort, The Small Town Energy Program (STEP) aims to improve energy efficiency by 20 percent in 20 percent of University Park homes.
“One of the goals of STEP is to cut energy use and costs in homes and in public buildings," Mayor John Tabori said. "Adding solar panels to generate electricity is a pioneering move that complements STEP’s energy saving goals."
STEP is also in the process of expanding into neighboring Hyattsville, Riverdale Park, and College Heights Estates.