Solar Power Lighting the Way for Sustainable Energy in the Metro DC Area

Jun 21, 2013


Solar energy is growing in metropolitan Washington. With over 1600 systems already installed on residential commercial and government buildings the region is on track to meet its goal of encouraging 5000 new renewable energy systems to be installed by 2016. This target was set by the Climate Energy and Environment Committee (CEEPC) at the Council of Governments as part of our 2013-2016 Climate and Energy Action Plan. Local governments are leading by example with 18 of COG’s 22 member jurisdictions operating renewable systems on their property.

COG staff members Julia Allman and Jeff King recently highlighted regional renewable energy efforts in this National Association of Regional Governments Podcast.

Adopting Renewables

The Council of Governments and its member governments have worked to promote the adoption of solar technology throughout the region. Local efforts spearheaded by Loudoun County’s Green Business Challenge and Arlington County’s Green Games give a playfully competitive incentive for business and residents to engage in sustainable behaviors including using renewable energy.

Other local initiatives promote solar adoption through incentives and volume purchasing of solar equipment. For example Solarize Frederick County provides incentive grants and tax credits on top of enjoying discounts on mass purchased solar panels. Prince George’s County helps lower the cost of solar technology by giving property tax credits for equal to 50% of the total system cost within a year of installation.

Clean Energy Collaborative Procurement

Another way COG is promoting solar adoption is through the Clean Energy Collaborative Procurement Initiative. Launched in 2010 the Initiative will add 50 solar sites to the energy grid by providing technical expertise and economies of scale to solar panel purchasing. Round One of this initiative will add 12 megawatts of solar capacity or enough to power about 2000 homes. Round Two is set to begin later this year.

Through these renewable energy projects as well as green building and fleet policies climate adaptation planning and other efforts the Council of Governments and its member governments are moving closer to the sustainability goals in our Region Forward vision. Stay tuned for our soon-to-be-released annual Climate and Energy Progress Report and Resource Guide which will provide more detailed information on these projects and other local actions.

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