Feds complete largest solar project

Denver Federal Center Carport Solar Panels

The GSA recently completed installing "carport" solar panels at the Denver Federal Center, the largest projects of its kind in the U.S. by the GSA. Photo credit: E Light Wind and Solar, Inc

Fourteen new solar “carports” were recently installed at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, the final stage of a solar project that produces the equivalent of enough electricity to power more than 1,000 homes a year.

If the solar panels were laid end to end would they would span nearly 5.5 miles. They produce approximately 1.6 megawatts of energy per year that serve  four Denver Federal Center buildings.

This final phase completes GSA’s largest single solar installation project in the U.S. The GSA, or General Services Administration, is an independent government agency that helps manage and support the basic functions of U.S. government offices.

Nearly seven megawatts of additional renewable power will be online by the end of the year, saving approximately $500,000 in electricity costs annually for the campus. This project, combined with two other solar projects, will provide more than 15 percent of campus electrical needs. They will generate  enough power for the equivalent of 1,064 residential homes annually.

“GSA is investing in solar power technology to not only cut operating costs but to also create jobs that will form the backbone of our nation’s 21st century economy,” said Susan Damour, GSA Regional Administrator.  “This project will be a nice benefit to our campus employees as it will provide protection from the changing weather in Colorado.”

The solar carports cover 600 parking spaces and are targeted to start producing energy next month. Solar carports are a way to use available land for solar arrays.  They re-purpose current parking lots, add incremental economic value by lowering campus energy spending and protect cars from the elements. The new carports come with complete electrical power infrastructure for future plug-in electric car charging stations. Underneath, the carports feature LED lighting reducing energy used to light parking spaces at night and lasting five times as long as conventional lighting.

In December 2009, E Light Wind and Solar Inc./Centerre, a small business joint venture company, was awarded the design-build contract for the campus solar work.

“In a down construction economy, this project has allowed our company to diversify our services and train our employees in new skill sets,” said Perry Herrmann, President/CEO of E Light Wind and Solar, Inc. Since the beginning of this two-year, multi-million dollar contract, E Light Wind and Solar, Inc. is now rapidly approaching more than 165 megawatts of renewable energy installed across the U.S.

The solar work is one of many green technologies GSA is integrating at the DFC in an effort to make its vision of being the most sustainable campus in the U.S. by 2020 a reality.  For more information about the DFC, please go to this link.

Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com

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John Rebchook

John Rebchook has more than 30 years of experience in writing and communications. As the Real Estate Editor for the Rocky Mountain News, he wrote about residential and commercial real estate for 26 years. He has won numerous awards for business stories and columns that he wrote, both as an individual and part of teams. In addition to real estate, he also covered economic development, banking and financing, the airlines, and cable TV for the Rocky. In addition, he was one of the original freelance writers for GlobeSt.com, covering commercial real estate for the Internet publication.

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