District of Columbia Signs 20-Year Solar Agreement Amid Climate Talks

The U.S. capital's latest renewable energy arrangement comes after a wind power purchase in July.

by / December 4, 2015

The U.S. capital city just keeps getting greener.

Already ranked as one of the nation’s cleanest cities and freshly removed from signing the largest-ever municipal wind power purchasing agreement (PPA), Washington, D.C., announced on Dec. 1 that it has entered into another arrangement that will add 11.4 megawatts of solar power to its generation capacity.

That will boost the city’s solar generation capacity about 70 percent, according to a press release from Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office. She expects the deal to save $25 million in energy costs in 20 years of operation and cover 3.5 percent of the Department of General Services’ total electricity needs. The solar panels, purchased from a D.C.-based company, will sit on top of city-owned roofs and parking lots by the end of 2016.

The mayor’s office touted the PPA as one of the largest of its kind in the U.S. That complements a PPA the district signed in July to receive 35 percent of the local government’s power needs from Pennsylvania wind farms. The office has called it the largest such agreement in history.

The agreements come at a time when the U.S. government, as well as state and local governments across the country, are vying to demonstrate their commitments to clean power on the international stage at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) climate talks in Paris. And that’s exactly what the district has done — on Thursday, the COP21-based C40 Cities Awards gave honors to D.C.’s wind farm PPA.

It’s par for the course for the district, which the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked third in the nation for its commitment to efficiency on this year’s scorecard.