Apr 3, 2015

Department of Energy Solar Tour Delayed, #ThanksObama

Location: 1000 Independence Ave SW Washington, DC 20585
A few weeks ago, I was scheduled to go on a solar roof tour at the Department of Energy (DOE) with Eric Haukdal, the DOE Headquarters Energy Manager. Setting up this tour was no easy task. I went through 3 or 4 contacts before I found Eric. Arranging a time that worked for us both was a lot of back and forth. A lot of dashed hopes.

Everything was looking good when suddenly, Eric sends me an email saying that the tour was no longer going to work. What was the source of this evil you ask? Eric told me that President Obama had arranged a tour. Perfect. My window of opportunity was slammed shut by the President, #ThanksObama. In case you don't believe me, here's an article on the President's visit--Obama orders government to cut emissions. I wasn't even mentioned.

I'm happy to let you know that Eric and I did reschedule for March 25. Once the date was set with Eric, I was able to get through security, take the elevator up 7 floors, climb another 2 floors by stair, and make it through the password-secured door to to the roof.

The solar array on the roof is huge--you can easily see it from space! Eric emailed me all the good information:
  • Installed in 2008, this 205 kilowatt (kW) system generates about 230,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year. It includes a main array with 891 individual solar panels and a technology showcase. The showcase includes four small 1 kilowatt arrays, each featuring a different type of solar technology.
One interesting note about DOE is that this is the first roof installation I've seen with panels laid flat on the ground.  Can you guess why?

Finally, DOE's roof was a great view and one of the bigger installations in DC proper. However, it is by no means the biggest solar array I've seen in the area. The FedEx parking lot was 2 Mw (10x bigger) and Mt. St. Mary's solar farm was 17.4 Mw (87x bigger). You just can't compete with the country.