Denver Federal Center Nears Completion Solar Project Wrapping Up

denver-federal-center-solarIf you’ve heard of the U.S. General Service Administration (GSA), chancesare you associate it with things like internal audits, paperwork andgovernment oversight. Not solar power, in other words.

Thanks to an innovative series of energy- and efficiency-relatedprojects, however, the administration may succeed in livening up itsreputation.

Work is nearing an end on a nearly 7-megawatt (MW) solar project at GSA’s Denver Federal Center. When combined with a 1.2-MW solar park that was installed in 2007, theentire project will meet more than 15 percent of the center’s annualelectricity needs — about the equivalent amount needed to power 1,000typical American homes for a year.

“GSA has made great strides over the years reducing energyconsumption in buildings and we are well under way in turning our vision of becoming the greenest campus by 2020 into a reality,” said SusanDamour, GSA Rocky Mountain Regional Administrator. “The past couple ofyears have been an unprecedented opportunity for GSA to help create andsustain jobs all across the country.”

Beyond the challenges presented by a slow economy, Colorado’s solar energy industry was dealt a setback in recent months following a move by Xcel Energy to reduce and restructure its solarrebate program. The GSA’s project has meanwhile kept a number of localcompanies busy. E Light Wind and Solar, Inc./Centerre, a joint venturecomprising a pair of Colorado small businesses, was awarded the contract to design and build the latest portions of GSA’s solar array. Here’smore from the press release:

The first phase was completed ahead of schedule andbrought online December 15, 2010. It included roof replacement and thedesign and installation of a 3.2-MW solar PV system. In all, 14,612roof-mounted, 224-watt solar panels were installed on Buildings 20, 56and 810. In the final phase, the company is installing 14,352245-watt solar panels manufactured by SolarWorld at its factories inCamarillo, Calif., and Hillsboro, Ore., as well as products from otherU.S. technology manufacturers.

It bears noting that, with tons of annual sunshine and clear blueskies, Colorado is one of the best places in the country to installsolar photovoltaic (PV) panels. As of 2009, Colorado was ranked fifth in the nation in terms of total solar PV capacity installed.

Photo of a ground-mounted portion of the Denver Federal Center solar array (above) courtesy of PRNewswire.

Big Solar Power Project at Denver Federal Center Nears Completion


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