Standard Solar is partnering with The Catholic University of America to build the Washington metropolitan region’s largest urban community solar array on the University’s campus in northeast D.C.
The 7.4-MW project will provide access to locally generated, renewable energy through the D.C. community solar program to residents, non-profits and businesses. Standard Solar will own, operate and maintain the system.
The solar array will be installed on an undeveloped portion of the University’s 173.4-acre campus, between Harewood Rd. and North Capitol St. NE, north of Michigan Ave. known as the west campus. Acquired in 2004, the area is primarily used for campus operations, including a tree nursery and staging areas for infrastructure projects. The project is currently in the design process, with construction anticipated to begin in 2022.
Generating approximately 10,000 MWh of solar energy annually, the project will make a significant contribution to the district’s goal of 100% renewable energy by 2032 and carbon neutrality by 2050.
“Catholic University is showing tremendous leadership with this innovative solar project to bring clean energy to the region,” said John Finnerty, Director of Business Development, Standard Solar. “The project goes beyond expanding the University’s sustainability initiatives and environmental stewardship to directly creating benefits for the Washington, D.C. community and generations of students.”
The project is estimated to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 7.115 metric tons, equivalent to removing 1,547 cars from the roads each year.
In addition, the project will provide educational opportunities for students at all levels from K-12 to graduate level. Students will learn about sustainability and environmental stewardship through field trips, STEM projects, and access to a real-time, web-based energy production monitoring tool.
This project is the latest in Catholic University’s long-term commitment to sustainability. The campus already has 2,700 solar panels; four LEED-certified buildings; EV charging stations; solar carports; a new energy-efficient, central hot and chilled water generation and campus distribution system that replaced a century-old steam system; and a five-year Sustainability Plan. The University was one of the first globally to sign onto a Vatican initiative committing to a plan for environmental sustainability. Catholic recently landed on the Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges for a second year.
Since 2016, carbon emissions on campus have declined by 28%, and every kW of electricity is paid for with renewable energy credits. The University offers over 150 courses related to sustainability, internships in sustainability, and is sponsoring a conference in April, Climate Change and the Future of Work.