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Green Development LLC Explains How Renewable Energy Projects Can Help Cities and Schools


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Sometimes renewable energy projects get a bad rap for altering the landscape, but they can be highly beneficial for cities and towns that must find funding for important initiatives and balance budgets without raising taxes or issuing bonds as well academic institutions struggling to maintain the status quo. In this article, Green Development LLC highlights a couple of key examples of how municipalities and school systems are integrating renewable energy resources to achieve just that while simultaneously contributing to our nation's carbon-neutral future.

Virtual Net Metering

Energy savings programs like virtual net metering (VNM)-which are available in many states-typically enable cities, towns, hospitals, schools, churches, and other qualified off-taker entities to save as much as 20-30 percent on their electricity bills. Sites approved for VNM are typically ground-mounted solar farms situated in industrial zones or rural areas that can be miles away from the municipality that benefits from the VNM agreement. The city or town does not have to deal with the development, operation, financing, or maintenance of the site to reap the benefits of a long-term energy savings agreement.

In this way, VNM differs from standard net metering agreements, in which home and building owners receive credits from the utility company for the energy produced by their onsite rooftop installations.

Virtual net metering has been taking off in the United States in recent years for various reasons. Not only does it guarantee reductions in a town's energy bills and overall carbon emissions, but it often generates tax and leasing revenues for the city or town on which the solar project is built.

Leveraging Renewable Energy to Power Local Education

Historically, organizations with a physical enterprise have relied on local utility providers to supply and meet their energy costs. However, in recent years, several corporations and schools have turned to Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) between solar and wind energy developers as a viable method to reduce their environmental footprint and mitigate energy costs long-term.

For example, a college campus may enter into a long-term contract with an energy producer to install an onsite solar photovoltaic (PV) system. Major benefits to the consumer include little-to-no-upfront capital costs and a fixed price on power for a period of time. Furthermore, according to this study published by the Environmental Research Journal, if schools across the country used solar panels on their large, flat roofs, up to 75 percent of their electricity needs would be covered. With 25 to 30 year warranties included on most solar projects, installing panels could lead to several decades of renewable energy use and decreased dependence on fossil fuels.

The savings from reducing the energy bill by that much could be reinvested back into the school's budget, benefiting students and administrators alike, and strengthening the city's overall education system and academic appeal. The researchers who conducted the study projected that a full-scale attempt to maximize the use of educational building space could save the education industry upwards of $4 billion a year-which could make a significant impact.

About Green Development LLC

Green Development LLC is the leading developer of utility-scale renewable energy projects in Rhode Island, specializing in wind, solar, and battery storage. The company delivers significant energy savings to municipalities, quasi-public entities, nonprofits, and other qualified entities through the virtual net metering program while providing long-term lease payments to landowners and farmers.

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