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Washington, DC– The Office of the People’s Counsel for the District of Columbia (OPC) today released a new analysis of the feasibility of solar deployment in the city. In “The Future of Solar Study for the District of Columbia,” the findings reveal the differences in solar potential on a ward level and the suitability of particular options for generating solar power across the wards. The Future of Solar Study shows clear differences. For example, Wards 2,3,5, and 6 appear to have greater potential for private rooftop installations while shared community solar projects, developed for large building rooftops or parking lot canopy, would be the best option for Wards 5,6,7 and 8. The study also found that Wards 2 and 3 are falling far short on what is technically and economically possible. Compared to other wards, Wards 4,7 and 8 have shown better progress toward reducing the gap between their potential and actual solar deployment.
This latest analysis builds on OPC’s “Value of Solar Study,” which in 2017, focused on the potential for deploying solar and other distributed energy resources District-wide. Both studies were undertaken in conjunction with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy and the Clean Energy States Alliance, a national, a nonprofit coalition of public agencies and organizations working together to advance clean energy.
The 2020 findings indicated that the District could achieve its mandated goal of generating 100% of electricity through renewable energy by 2032. The study found this goal is technically feasible to achieve and development of rooftop and parking lot solar systems is a critical element. However, generating 10% retail electricity consumption from DC-specific solar deployment by 2041 requires substantial ongoing investment and engagement by the District government, stakeholders, and developers. Analysis of bill impacts indicate that an average residential customer is expected to realize a reduction of about $8 per year.
“OPC supports the District’s noble objective of building a carbon-free sustainable environment,” said People’s Counsel Sandra Mattavous-Frye. “And our data-driven studies can serve as a blueprint and resource for the city and stakeholders as we work together to execute the mandated goals and strive to widen access to solar energy for consumers in all eight wards.”
OPC’s Future of Solar Study also found that the price of electricity from solar is slightly higher than electricity generated from fossil fuel. However, the rapid reduction in the price of solar panels will most likely make the price of solar-powered electricity less expensive than the price of electricity generated from other sources.
The study is available here.