Feds Installing Solar Panels on Ronald Reagan Building

Contract estimated to cost $150,000 a year

Demonstrators carry a giant inflatable earth balloon outside the Ronald Reagan Building / AP
• February 11, 2016 5:00 am


The General Services Administration signed a contract to install solar panels on more than a dozen federal buildings in Washington, D.C., including the Ronald Reagan building, at an estimated cost of $150,000 per year.

The contract, which was awarded to WGL Energy Systems, is a result of an Obama administration initiative that seeks to increase the amount of solar energy used across the government.

"The Capital Solar Challenge initiative was launched in 2014 by the White House to identify opportunities to deploy solar renewable energy at federal agencies, departments, military installations and subsidized complexes across the national capital region," a press release announcing the contract said.

"According to the terms of the Capital Solar Challenge contract, WGL Energy Systems will own, design, install and operate multiple solar facilities under a power purchase agreement that runs for 10 years with an option to renew for an additional 10 years," WGL Energy Systems said. "The project will be developed, engineered and constructed in partnership with Inman Solar."

The list of 18 buildings to get solar panels includes the Ronald Reagan building located at the Federal Triangle. Congress unanimously voted to name the building in honor of the 40th president in 1995.

One of the first acts of Reagan’s presidency was to remove the solar panels on the White House that were installed by Jimmy Carter. Obama chose to emulate Carter rather than Reagan by putting solar panels back on the White House roof in 2014.

WGL Energy Systems said the solar panels are expected to generate 3.75 million kilowatt hours per year. The contract offers a power purchase price of just under $0.04 per kWh, making the total contract worth approximately $150,000 a year.

"This avoids more than 2,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, the equivalent to the amount emitted by more than 500 cars or the electric power used by 200 homes in one year," the company said.

A spokesperson from WGL Energy referred questions on the cost of the contract to the General Services Administration. The agency did not return requests for comment.