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Commerce Department Installs Solar Panels on Headquarters for First Time

Officials atop the HCHB in Washington with solar panels

The Department of Commerce this week installed three solar panels on the roof of its headquarters, the Herbert C. Hoover Building (HCHB) in downtown Washington, D.C. The first of its kind for the building, the installation is part of Commerce’s efforts to increase its use of renewable energy and commitment to environmental stewardship.

The installation also supports President Obama’s December 5 memo challenging federal agencies to obtain 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

Two Commerce agencies–the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)–have already installed solar panels on some of their facilities in recent years. The Department is challenging all Commerce bureaus to pursue renewable energy, implement energy conservation campaigns, and lead by example as good stewards of the environment.

The installation is a collaboration between the Office of Facilities and Environmental Quality’s Office of Space and Building Management and Office of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Programs (OSEEP).

The solar panels are an important but small step toward utilizing renewable energy. The Department has launched several additional initiatives to promote new energy-related initiatives. For example, Commerce established a Green Grants program in October 2012 to provide 50 percent cost matching funds for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects Department-wide. The program is managed by OSEEP through a panel of bureau representatives to ensure equity in the project selection process. OSEEP is also heading up a team effort involving the Census Bureau, NIST, and NOAA to use an alternatively financed contract to implement several renewable energy and energy efficiency projects at multiple facilities.

For more information on renewable energy or the Green Grants program, visit OSEEP at:

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Solar Panels at HCHB

Great job HCHB. This is really a huge step in helping to lessen the barriers that limit the installation of PV within the National Capital Region.

Solar panels

Why only 3 panels? What will this really power, a couple lights? The roof looks like it can fit quite a bit more panels. Set a good example and fill the roof with clean energy producing solar.

Solar Panels

Great job HCHB that is something good to contribute thumbs up!

Solar panels have long term durability that can last for many years. Even so, it doesn’t gets torn most especially when revealed to extreme weather conditions. The photovoltaic modules have been made to work extremely despite the cold temperature and works efficiently on a hot day.