Bright Future For Nation’s Capitol Office Building Launches Largest Solar Array of It’s Kind

1909 K Street pic 1New solar PV system is the largest installation by a privately-held real estate developer on a Class A, commercial office building in Washington, D.C.

Today, Astrum Solar® and The Tower Companies (“Tower”) announced The Millennium Building, located at 1909 K Street NW, flipped the switch on a newly installed solar photovoltaic (PV) system.  This project is a first of its kind in Washington, D.C. It will help improve the district’s environmental footprint and reduce the building’s operating costs.  Both Tower and Astrum Solar led this initiative to hopefully inspire other commercial building owners to use on-site renewable energy in building operations.

Astrum Solar®, a Maryland based full service solar provider and a Direct Energy® company, designed and installed this 30 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system for Tower, a privately-held and family-owned organization that has both developed and managed The Millennium Building since 1973.  The 235,000 SF, multi-tenant, commercial office building is LEED® Gold Certified under Existing Buildings: Operations and Management (“EBOM”) and ENERGY STAR Certified with a current score of 86.

1909 K Street pic 2“It’s encouraging to see solar catching on for commercial uses.  For years, homeowners have realized the benefit of solar to lower their energy costs and help the environment.  The Tower Companies is a very forward thinking leader, we hope others will follow,” said Sandy Roskes, Chief Sales Officer of Astrum Solar.

The new solar PV system is located on the roof and features 109 American made panels (270 watts each), with an estimated annual production of nearly 40,000 kWh. That’s equivalent to operating three elevators in the building for one year.  This is the first solar PV installation on a large, commercial, class-A, office building in Washington D.C. Tower decided to purchase instead of lease the system, which is a unique approach in the market. Tower has installed a live dashboard in the penthouse lobby, which will display the daily and on-going electricity generated and will act as a visible reminder of both the environmental and financial savings from this project.

1909 K Street pic 3Tower is committed to developing and managing buildings that are sustainable and socially responsible. “It’s in our DNA as an organization.  We strive to be in the forefront of the green building industry and have wanted to incorporate solar for a while now,” said Eugenia Gregorio, Director of Corporate Responsibility for The Tower Companies. “When we combined the decreased cost of solar panels and the tax and SREC incentives available, the project just made good business sense and aligns with our environmental goals,” added Gregorio.

The project will contribute to the Sustainable DC Plan, and the long term goal of increasing renewable energy sources to 50% by 2032.  According to the District Department of the Environment, there are more than 1200 PV systems in the District registered with the Renewable Portfolio Standard Program.  That translates into approximately 9 MW of PV capacity.  “The District of Columbia has one of the strongest solar markets in the nation thanks to the coordinated effort of industry, District Government, and strong advocates,” said Tommy Wells, Acting Director of the District Department of the Environment. “The Tower Companies’ new solar installation gets us closer to our ambitious renewable energy goals.  On behalf of Mayor Bowser, I congratulate Tower for their leadership.”

— Solar Builder magazine








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