It’s expected to provide 18 percent of the Y’s electricity.
The Natelli Family Y in Ijamsville (Photo from YMCA of Frederick County website)
Frederick, Md (KM) Since last month, the YMCA of Frederick County’s facility in Ijamsville has been receiving some of its electricity from the sun. Tim Dunn, the Vice President of Facilities and IT at the YMCA, says a 222 kilovolt solar power facility has been installed on the roof of the Natelli Family Y at 3481 Campus Drive. “When we were looking at building the Natelli Family YMCA many years ago, the design of it worked out perfectly for a large flat roof bed. It’s ideal for solar,” says Dunn.
He says Secure Solar Futures put the panels on the roof at no cost to the YMCA. The company owns, operates and maintains the system. “For the first 25 years, we actually buy the power from them that the array generates. And it’s at basically a cost that is cheaper than the electric company,” says Dunn. “And then at the end of the 25 years, we take over ownership and get free power for the next ten to 15 years over the life of the unit.”
Dunn says this system is expected to provide the Natelli Family Y 18 percent of its electricity. “The 18 percent power that it’s estimated to produce is basically an average over the course of a month,” he explains. “On really sunny days, it will actually produce more, and on cloudy, rainy days it will produce less. But the average is 18 percent.”
The solar array is expected to save the YMCA $100,000 in energy costs over the next 25 years, money that could be used to invest in programs at the Y. “Part of our commitment to maintaining costs and the environment led us down this path. We’ve been open for two years so this was done after the fact,” he says.
The YMCA says the solar array is expected to generate 294,200 kilowatt hours of electric power during its first year of operations, and that’s enough energy to power 25 average homes.
With this system in place, Dunn says the YMCA is looking at using renewable energy at all of its locations around Frederick County. “In our commitment to keeping costs down and reinvest in our programs, we’re always looking at renewable energy sources whether it be solar, wind, or anything we can do to help the environment and our costs,” he says.
The Natelli Family Y is a 60,000-square-foot facility with a large competition pool and a smaller family pool. There’s a also a gymnasium with a track above it. . The building also has a large fitness center, locker rooms, studios and conference rooms.
Secure Solar has also installed an electric vehicle charger in the parking lot of the Natelli Family Y.
The company is also a provider of on-site clean energy to schools, hospitals and businesses.
By Kevin McManus