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February 14, 2011 at 9:15 AM EST

The University of Maryland College Park Announces 631 KW Solar Project

Solar project is made possible by the Maryland Energy Administration Project Sunburst Initiative and partnership with Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc.

COLLEGE PARK, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- More than 2,600 solar panels will be installed on a University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) building this summer, resulting in one of the largest rooftop solar power systems in Maryland.

UMD was selected as a Maryland Energy Administration Project Sunburst Initiative Partner and awarded a grant aimed at promoting the installation of renewable energy systems on public buildings in Maryland. As a result of a competitive bid process, Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. (WGES) will finance the remainder of the project cost and UMD will purchase the electricity generated by the solar panels under a 20-year agreement with WGES.

By the second quarter of 2011, the solar power system will be installed and operating on the roof of UMD's Severn building, a multi-purpose facility located less than a mile from the College Park campus. The 631 kilowatt system, which will be installed by Standard Solar Inc. of Rockville, Md. and owned and operated by WGES, will produce about 792 megawatt hours of electricity each year.

"The University is committed to addressing the significant challenges of this generation, including environmental sustainability, climate change, and renewable energy," said Ann Wylie, Vice President of Administrative Affairs and Chair of the University Sustainability Council. "The use of solar energy — a clean energy source that produces no greenhouse gases — will move us another step closer to achieving our vision for a greener campus embodied in the university's Strategic Plan."

This solar project is the latest in a series of efforts the university has undertaken in an effort to achieve its goal to become "widely recognized as a national model for a Green University." In 2007 UMD was one of 650 American colleges and universities that were signatories to the American College and University President's Climate Commitment. This commitment provides a framework and support for the nation's colleges and universities to eventually become carbon neutral. As a signatory, the University of Maryland is reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from campus operations and moving toward the goal of carbon neutrality.

Electricity from the solar panels will reduce UMD's carbon footprint by over 600 tons per year, the equivalent of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from 64,000 gallons of gasoline per year, or nearly 1.3 million gallons over the life of the contract.

"WGES has a long history of introducing renewable energy solutions for our customers," said Harry Warren, president of WGES of Herndon, Va. "Our efforts to help customers find environmentally attractive solutions for their energy needs are bolstered by Maryland programs and policies that encourage, and in fact rely on, the competitive market to invest in these clean energy technologies. The University of Maryland project will bring our rapidly growing portfolio of owned and operated solar power projects on the east coast to about 4 megawatts."

"We were thrilled to be able to bring much needed clean, renewable energy to the University of Maryland, College Park through this Project Sunburst grant," said Malcolm Woolf, Director of the Maryland Energy Administration. "By investing in renewable energy resources UMD is helping Maryland achieve its Renewable Portfolio Standard goal of acquiring 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2022."

"As the region's leading solar developer and installer, we look forward to our participation in this important project and contributing to UMD's effort to become a model for what it means to be a Green University," said Scott Wiater, president of Standard Solar.

About The University of Maryland

The University of Maryland is rapidly becoming a model energy-efficient, resource-smart, and low-carbon community. Recent successes in reducing the university's environmental impacts including decreasing its carbon footprint, increasing its recycling by 40 percent since 2003, increasing the amount of storm water that is captured, and expanding sustainability education and learning. Organizations that rate colleges and universities on sustainability have noticed UMD's efforts. For example, the University of Maryland ranked among the greenest institutions of higher learning in the nation on the 2011 College Sustainability Report Card by the Sustainable Endowments Institute. The Princeton Review included the University of Maryland among 18 institutions in the nation to make their Green College Honor Roll for 2011. For additional information, contact Lee Tune, University Communications, at 301-405-4679 or ltune@umd.edu.

About Washington Gas Energy Services

Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. is one of the largest competitive providers of electricity and natural gas in the mid-Atlantic region and supplies over 335,000 customers in Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Headquartered in Herndon, Va., Washington Gas Energy Services is an affiliate of Washington Gas and a subsidiary of WGL Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:WGL). For more information, visit www.wges.com, or contact Leah Gibbons at 703-973-7565 (office), 301-509-1508 (cell), or lgibbons@wges.com.

About Standard Solar

Standard Solar, Inc. is a leader in the full-service development, construction, integration, financing and installation of solar electric systems. Since 2004, Standard Solar has been the partner of choice to make solar energy financially accessible, helping customers through financing options, including Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and navigating expanded federal and state and local tax credits. Ranked the 73rd Fastest Growing Private Company in America in 2010 by Inc. magazine, and the highest-ranking renewable energy company on the list, Standard Solar is headquartered in Rockville, Md. For more information, please visit www.standardsolar.com, or contact Keira Shein at WilkinsonShein Communications at 410-363-9494, or keira@wilkinsonshein.com.

University of Maryland
Lee Tune, University Communications
301-405-4679
ltune@umd.edu
or
Washington Gas Energy Services
Leah Gibbons, 703-973-7565
Cell: 301-509-1508
lgibbons@wges.com
or
Standard Solar
WilkinsonShein Communications
Keira Shein, 410-363-9494
keira@wilkinsonshein.com

Source: Washington Gas Energy Services

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