DOE Headquarters Inaugurates a New 205-Kilowatt Solar Power System

September 9, 2008

Photo of a balding man in a suit standing at a podium with the DOE seal on it. Stretched out on the roof behind him are a number of solar power panels, and a U.S. flag hangs behind that. The U.S. Capitol Building is in the distant background.

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman helped to inaugurate the new solar power system on the roof of DOE's headquarters building on September 9.
Credit: DOE

A new 205-kilowatt solar power system was turned on for the first time at DOE's Forrestal Building on September 9, in an inaugural ceremony led by Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman. The new rooftop solar electric system, designed and installed by SunPower Corporation, consists of 891 solar photovoltaic modules and is 40 to 50 times larger than a typical residential system. Each module is able to convert 18.5% of the sunlight hitting it into electricity, which is one of the highest conversion efficiencies available for purchase today. The system will generate about 200 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, providing up to 8% of the Forrestal complex's energy during peak hours and saving as much as $26,000 in utility costs in its first year of operation. Insulation incorporated into each module will provide additional energy savings by reducing the building's heating and cooling load, and the system will ultimately help DOE avoid the emission of 186 metric tons per year of greenhouse gases. See the DOE and SunPower press releases.

DOE's new solar power system will help it comply with the Executive Order that President Bush issued in January 2007, calling for all federal agencies to reduce their energy consumption per square foot by 30% and requiring all agencies to utilize more renewable energy. In response, DOE developed the Transformational Energy Action Management (TEAM) initiative, with the aim of being the first federal agency to meet or exceed the energy efficiency and renewable energy requirements laid out in the Executive Order. For more information about the initiative, see the TEAM Web site.