GSA solar contract estimates $5M savings


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The General Services Administration says it will save $5 million by adding solar power systems on the rooftops of 18 federal buildings next year using a form of private sector partnership known as a power purchase agreement.

GSA awarded a contract this week to Washington, D.C.-based public utility company WGL Holdings Inc. to construct the solar panels on buildings in the capital that house “federal and quasi federal agencies,” according to an agency announcement by Ron Allard, energy branch chief for GSA’s National Capital Region. At a price of less than $0.04 per kilowatt-hour, a significant reduction from the traditional grid power price of $0.11 per kwh, GSA estimates it will save participating agencies more than $5 million over the term of the contract.

Construction will begin on the systems by spring 2016, with expectations that they’ll be operational by the year’s end, producing 3.5 million kwh of electricity per year and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 2,400 metric tons, according to Allard’s post.

Such power purchasing agreements, the announcement says, can be a “win-win-win” for federal government.

“Not only are they completely financed by the private sector, they also generate two sources of revenue for the developers: a fee for electric service and payments for Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) from public utilities,” Allard says.

This project was spurred by President Barack Obama’s 2014 Capital Solar Challenge, which urged GSA and the Energy Department to assist federal agencies and military services in the nation’s capital to identify opportunities to deploy renewable energy sources.

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Agencies, General Services Administration (GSA), Government IT News, Innovation, Procurement