WASHINGTON and MCLEAN, Va. — The Catholic University of America (CUA) dedicated the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) panel system in Washington, D.C., featuring more than 2,600 solar panels designed to generate in excess of 830,000 kilowatt-hours of clean electricity per year, including a canopy of 714 panels over more than 70 parking spaces.

The university celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the O’Boyle Hall parking lot, where the canopy is located.

“The Catholic University of America is proud to once again partner with Washington Gas Energy Systems and Standard Solar on the installation of these solar panels,” said Cathy Wood, vice president for finance and treasurer. “As a reflection of the university’s Catholic mission, we are committed to creating a sustainable campus and serving as an example of environmental stewardship.”

Along with the O’Boyle parking lot canopy, additional solar panels were installed this summer on the roofs of the Raymond A. DuFour Athletic Center, Pangborn Hall, and the Grounds Maintenance Complex. In 2009, installations were placed on the DuFour Center and Aquinas, Gibbons, and Flather halls. In the three years since the university began using solar power, it has nearly tripled the amount of clean energy it produces.

The solar panels were installed by Standard Solar of Rockville, Md., and the system is owned and operated by McLean, Va.-based Washington Gas Energy Systems as part of a 20-year power purchase agreement with CUA, signed in 2009.

“Standard Solar’s work with Catholic University, helping it make tremendous strides toward energy independence, has been extremely rewarding,” said Scott Wiater, Standard Solar president. “We applaud the efforts of the university's administration, faculty, staff, and student body for their pledge of sustainability.”

Reducing its carbon footprint with solar power is the latest step in Catholic University’s commitment to sustainability. The university’s efforts began in 2002 with the purchase of wind energy credits. In 2009, Opus Hall, the first new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-compliant student residence hall in Washington, D.C., was opened.

“We commend the leadership, faculty, and students of Catholic University of America for their impressive commitment to solar energy,” says Sanjiv Mahan, vice president of business development for Washington Gas Energy Systems. “This long-term academic and private sector partnership exemplifies how renewable energy can help a campus reduce its carbon footprint and engage students in the advancement of new technologies. We are honored to be their partner and help them meet their sustainability goals.”

For more information, visit www.standardsolar.com.

Publication date: 10/15/2012