Case Study: Commercial Solar Meets the Threshold

Tags: solar panels

Washington Square's investment in energy efficiency can mean greater savings and a positive environmental impact for the District.

The 522kW rooftop solar system consists of 1,290 panels and generates over 650,000 kWh directly from the sun each year

Getting the Job Done Through Partnership

Washington Square, managed by Lerner Corporation, is a 720,000 square foot commercial office building located in the heart of downtown DC and directly above the Farragut North metro station. Before installing an on-site solar system, the property team had already achieved a number of sustainability goals including LEED Gold, ENERGY STAR, and Fitwel certifications.

In 2012, Lerner began working with the DCSEU to focus on energy efficiency measures with the Washington Square site becoming one of the first buildings in the District to go through the DCSEU’s Pay for Performance program.

Making a Positive Impact for the Environment and the Bottom Line

Thanks to a continued commitment from company leadership and incentive programs from the DCSEU, the property went from a 56 to 77 ENERGY STAR Score over 5 years. Through this partnership, Washington Square maximized energy efficiency opportunities and received DCSEU incentives for a commercial solar canopy, which helped reduce the payback period of the investment.

The 522kW rooftop solar system consists of 1,290 panels and generates over 650,000 kWh directly from the sun each year. This means that approximately 5% of the building’s energy demand is offset by on-site clean energy, enough energy to power the equivalent of 60 homes. In working with Gregorio Sustainability and Universal Renewables, Lerner was able to double the size of the solar installation project and use 90% of the roof area by installing a unique rooftop solar canopy system. The solar canopy has the additional benefit of providing protection for the rooftop equipment and allowing for future roof replacements without disturbing the solar canopy. This project was brought fully online in February 2023.

“Working with the DCSEU helps us get the payback we need to push these projects forward,” said Shawn Kyle Managing Director, Commercial Property Management at Lerner. “These projects have favorable returns on investment and are critical in our efforts to meet BEPS and work towards carbon neutrality."

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business, solar, success story

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