The District’s largest community solar canopy unveiled at the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus
April 28, 2021
D.C. officials and community leaders unveiled the District’s largest solar canopy on the grounds of the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus (RIC), located on the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus. The canopy is part of the District’s Solar for All program. It will provide more than 325 income-qualified households with clean, renewable energy and electricity bill savings over the next 15 years.
“When we began to plan the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus, we wanted to do more than discover new and better ways to care for children. We also wanted to support the local community,” said President and CEO of Children’s National Kurt Newman, M.D. “I'm proud that we could incorporate the solar design into our campus thereby returning clean energy to the residents of Ward 4 and doing our part to support the environment."
At the event, District of Columbia Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) Director Tommy Wells announced New Columbia Solar (NCS) and Children’s National Hospital are 2021 District Sustainability Award co-recipients for the execution of this project.
“The completion of this project is a tremendous achievement that will not only help to meet Mayor Muriel Bowser’s climate and clean energy goals for the District, but will also help to reduce energy costs for low-income households,” said Wells. “The District is proud to be a national leader in sustainability, and this project further demonstrates our commitment to deploying solar and developing scalable solutions in a way that prioritizes equitable access for all.”
Mayor Bowser's Solar for All initiative will provide 100,000 low-to-moderate income families with the benefits of locally generated clean energy. This installation will serve more than 325 income-qualified D.C. families. It will save each household up to $500 annually.
Joining to celebrate the project were Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3); DOEE Director Tommy Wells; Children’s National Hospital Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President for Patient Care Services Kathy Gorman; Commissioner Emile Thompson, District of Columbia Public Service Commission; D.C. Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) Director Ted Trabue; and New Columbia Solar CEO Mike Healy.
"This project is the perfect example of why operating a solar company in the District is so rewarding,” said NCS CEO Mike Healy. “I look at this project and see major decision-makers in D.C. coming together, in the middle of a global pandemic, to prioritize powering our city through clean energy and to offset utility expenses for the families in our community who are experiencing material poverty.”
The installation began when Children’s National acquired a large five-story above-grade parking garage, which provided the perfect location for a cutting-edge solar array. The installation of the 1,148 kW system was an engineering feat. It’s one of the District’s most complex solar systems. For example, the load-bearing capacity of the concrete deck was less than the weight of the Spydercrane needed to lift and install the steel canopy frame. NCS’s engineering team had to devise creative solutions to bring this project to life.
“It’s an honor to deliver the Solar for All program in partnership with District government and the D.C. business community,” said DCSEU Director Ted Trabue. “These projects bring opportunities to District businesses, jobs to D.C. residents, and critical electricity bill savings to families who need it, all while helping work towards a carbon-free D.C.”
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