U.S. Government Demonstrates Commitment to Renewables

A 2,800-panel, 100 kW multi-celled thin-film PV system is now installed at the U.S. General Services Administration’s Suitland, Maryland Federal Center. Through the Million Solar Roofs initiative over 100,000 solar roofs have been installed since 1997 – nearly double the goal of 51,000 solar roofs by 2000. The federal government also exceeded the goal set forth in President Clinton’s Executive Order 13123, which requires 2,000 solar energy systems be installed on federal buildings by the end of 2000. 2,100 systems are operational now – the government plans to meets its goal of 20,000 PV system installations by 2010.

In early 2002, the U.S. EPA’s Environmental Science Center – the federal government’s principal environmental laboratory – at Fort Meade, Maryland will be powered by the most efficient on-site power plant in the world. The fuel cell-gas turbine hybrid power system will be built by the Siemens-Westinghouse Power Corporation. Says U.S. DOE Secretary Richardson, “The Fort Meade project will preview a future of ‘good neighbor’ power generators that can be sited at or near the customer.”

The power plant will combine a solid-state fuel cell (powered by natural gas) and a microturbine. It will generate 1,000 kilowatts of electricity at about 60% efficiency, as opposed to 35% efficiency of conventional power plants. It will generate about half of the 140,000-square foot lab’s electricity.

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