The District’s largest solar canopy has been installed on top of the parking garage at Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus. Located on the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus, the installation, which is part of the District’s Solar for All program, will serve more than 325 income-qualified households with clean, renewable energy and electricity bill savings for 20 years.
The installation began when Children’s National acquired a large five-story above-grade parking garage, which provided the perfect location for a cutting-edge solar array. The original re-development vision for the parking garage at the RIC always had the goal to incorporate a solar array as a recognizable element to further exhibit human technological successes, though the installation of the 1.1 MW system was an engineering feat, representing one of the District’s most complex solar systems. The feat of the installation process was well worth the struggle – in addition to the environmental benefits of solar energy, the array brings the benefit of supporting District families through the Solar for All program.
“When we began to plan the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus, we wanted to do more than discover new and better ways to care for children. We also wanted to support the local community,” said Kurt Newman, MD, president and CEO of Children’s National. “I'm proud that we could incorporate the solar design into our campus thereby returning clean energy to the residents of Ward 4 and doing our part to support the environment."
Clean energy generated by this solar array will be distributed through the Solar for All program, Mayor Muriel Bowser's initiative to provide 100,000 low-to-moderate income families with the benefits of locally generated clean energy. This installation specifically will serve more than 325 income-qualified DC families, saving each household up to $500 annually, and saving these families up to $2.4 million over 15 years.
"This project is the perfect example of why operating a solar company in the District is so rewarding,” said New Columbia Solar CEO Mike Healy. “I look at this project and see major decision-makers in DC coming together, in the middle of a global pandemic, to prioritize powering our city through clean energy and to offset utility expenses for the families in our community who are most in need.”
Over the past two years operating DOEE’s Solar for All program, the DCSEU has worked with local solar developers to install 130 community solar facilities across the District. These installations are expected to serve more than 4,000 income-qualified DC families, with more community solar project slated to be developed in 2021 to serve an additional 2,000 households.
“It’s an honor to deliver the Solar for All program in partnership with District government and the DC business community,” added Ted Trabue, Director of the DCSEU. “These projects bring opportunities to District businesses, jobs to DC residents, and critical electricity bill savings to families who need it, all while helping work towards a carbon-free DC.”