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WMATA Solar Program Analysis

Solar photovoltaic program advances agency’s sustainability initiatives.

  • A solar panel technician installs panels on the roof of a building. - Gannett Fleming

    A solar panel technician installs panels on a rooftop.

  • Solar panels line the rooftop of a downtown building. - Gannett Fleming

    WMATA staff examined the installation of solar panels on rooftops, in parking lots, and on undeveloped land.

  • A low-angle view of solar panels stretching up to a blue sky. - Gannett Fleming

    An economic analysis calculated that WMATA could save between $7 million to $13 million over 20 years by using solar power.

Client
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Partner(s)
Bluefin, LLC

Location
Washington, D.C.

Our Role
Analysis, Report Preparation, Consulting.

Data
Completed
2015
Duration
8 months
Outcomes
  • Identified opportunities to reduce energy costs through solar power
  • Supported client’s sustainability and efficiency values
  • Provided a clear path forward for solar photovoltaic program.

Committed to enhancing sustainability by reducing its carbon footprint, Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) examined the feasibility of sourcing some of its power through solar energy. Gannett Fleming and Parsons Transportation Group joint venture (GFP), and facility management consulting firm Bluefin LLC, performed a quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) review of a solar power feasibility analysis.

The team also evaluated a draft request for proposal (RFP) to allow a solar developer to install solar photovoltaic panels at WMATA facilities. The authority would then purchase this renewable power from the developer.

What We Did

GFP provided project management and a QA/QC review of an economic feasibility analysis conducted by Bluefin LLC. The analysis determined the maximum economic benefit of solar power generation for WMATA, examining the technical considerations and costs of installing solar panels on the roofs of Metro facilities, in parking lots, and on other WMATA properties.

This work included an analysis of current energy use, the energy production potential of solar panels, equipment amortization, energy cost savings, and the environmental benefits of using solar energy. GFP also evaluated the potential tax incentives for power purchase agreements with private vendors, rebates, and renewable energy credits. It determined that the best option for WMATA was to purchase power directly from a solar developer, which would own, operate, and maintain the equipment. This information enabled WMATA to seek bids on the installation of solar panels at several locations within its inventory, a significant step forward in its sustainability initiative.

Key Features

  • QA/QC review of the economic feasibility analysis ensured that it met the client’s needs and was technically correct
  • Energy production analysis examined the shading, geographic direction, and power grid interconnection of various sites
  • Economic analysis calculated a $7 million to $13 million savings in energy costs over 20 years.

Sustainability Features & Outcomes

  • Will generate approximately 10 kilowatt-hours of clean energy annually
  • Will reduce carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions by 4,928 tons per year
  • Is equivalent to planting 4,039 acres of trees.

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