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Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Public and private sectors work together on large-scale solar power project

Background

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) is the second largest transit system in the United States. Located in the Washington, D.C. region, it owns 91 metro stations, carrying an average of 626,000 passengers on weekdays across 117 miles of track prior to the pandemic. Metro is determined to use its assets in innovative ways to achieve the region’s clean energy goals.

Approach

The District of Columbia offers highly attractive incentive programs for solar energy projects. Metro saw an opportunity to create a valuable new revenue stream, while helping to further cut regional carbon emissions, by inviting the solar energy industry to bid on generating solar power on its property.

Enlisting JLL to bring the project to market, its financial viability depended on choosing locations which were covered by the District of Columbia’s solar incentives and which could easily interconnect with the grid. With JLL’s help, Metro partnered with SunPower to create one of the largest community solar power installations in the U.S. Some 17 acres of solar photovoltaic panels will be installed on garage rooftops and on parking lot canopies across four Metro stations.

Results 

  • Once complete, it will generate 12.8 MWh of power, benefitting the community by providing clean power to approximately 1,500 single-family homes
  • Provide a long-term revenue stream for the transit authority, delivering $50 million over a 25-year solar power agreement
  • Provide a blueprint for the transit authority to unlock all of its assets and help support the Washington region in the Clean Energy DC Plan