What can $0.04 per KWh get you? Approximately $5 million in utility costs savings.
As part of the White House Capital Solar Challenge, GSA announced today that it has awarded a contract to design, construct and operate solar energy systems on the rooftops of 18 buildings housing federal and quasi federal agencies in Washington, DC. The contract was awarded to WGL at a power purchase price of just under $0.04 per kWh, which is well below the cost of grid power nationally (currently averaging $0.11 per kWh). It is estimated that this contract will save participating agencies over $5 million in utility costs over the contract term.
When fully operational the solar energy systems are expected to generate over 3.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 2400 metric tons annually. That’s equivalent to the amount emitted by more than 500 cars or electrical power used by 330 homes. GSA expects the systems will begin producing power by the end of the 2016. Construction is set to begin next Spring.
About the Contract
Financially, solar energy Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) can be a “win-win-win” for the 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.
The SREC payments help the utilities meet their own state and District mandated requirements that a certain portion of their power generation must come from renewable sources. The District of Columbia has a particularly high standard for renewable power generation, requiring that SRECs are only eligible for solar power generated within DC.
Finally, this was an aggregated procurement — one contractor for all 18 buildings and one power cost for all participants.
About the White House Capital Solar Challenge
The Capital Solar Challenge, launched by President Obama in April 2014, directed federal agencies and military installations to identify opportunities to deploy solar renewable energy at Federal locations across the National Capital Region. The President charged GSA and the Department of Energy to assist agencies in leading the Capital Solar Challenge, capitalizing on innovative financing and procurement models to lower their cost of electricity and help agencies reach renewable energy goals.