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52 MW solar project planned for three notable Washington, D.C. institutions

The George Washington University, American University and the George Washington University Hospital sign up for solar power.

The project, named Capital Partners Solar Project and supplied by Duke Energy Renewables, comprises 52 MW of solar PV power, which is the equivalent of the electricity used in 8,200 homes every year. According to Duke Energy, it is the largest “non-utility” solar PV power purchase agreement in the United States in total contracted megawatt hours and the largest PV project east of the Mississippi River.

The project, orchestrated by CustomerFirst Renewables (CFR), will help George Washington University, American University and George Washington University Hospital meet their climate action plan commitments without incurring additional costs. The partners will break ground on the first site this summer and panels will begin to deliver electricity by the end of the year.

"Thanks to this innovative partnership, the George Washington University will now derive more than half of all its electricity from solar energy,” said GW President Steven Knapp. “This will greatly accelerate our progress toward the carbon neutrality target we had earlier set for 2025.”

When fully operational at the end of 2015, Capital Partners Solar Project will generate 123 million kWh of emissions-free electricity per year, drawn from 243,000 solar panels at three sites. That translates to eliminating roughly 60,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year or taking 12,500 cars off the road.

“American University is firmly on its way to achieving carbon neutrality by 2020,” said Neil Kerwin, AU president. “We are home to the largest combined solar array in the District, are resolved to growing green power through our purchase of renewable energy certificates and are now a partner to the largest non-utility solar energy purchase in the United States.”

Under the agreement and once the project is complete, George Washington University will receive roughly 86.6 million kWh, American University will receive 30 million kWh and George Washington University Hospital will receive approximately 6.3 million kWh annually. The solar power will fuel more than half of GW’s and AU’s electricity needs and more than a third of George Washington University Hospital’s need.

“Duke Energy looks forward to working with these leading D.C. institutions on an innovative solar project that demonstrates their leadership in sustainability and, at the same time, provides them with low-cost energy at a stable price for years to come,” said Greg Wolf, president of Duke Energy Renewables.

Solar power generated at the panel sites in North Carolina will move through a North Carolina electrical grid into the D.C. regional grid, increasing the amount of solar energy in the region.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Green building  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity