One D.C. organization’s path to solar

By Ben Delman on September 16, 2015

Homeowners aren’t the only ones benefiting from the increase in solar adoption. Organizations have begun transitioning their energy to solar electricity as well. The Washington Ethical Society (WES) is one such group. Their building is home to a 102 module, 30.2-kilowatt (kW) rooftop solar system.

The WES project was modeled after previous projects completed in Greenbelt and University Park, Maryland. These projects all used a community LLC model that allowed interested community members to invest in the solar project. WES members formed Ethical Community Solar LLC (ECS) to develop the project.

In this model, individuals join in a business enterprise to develop a community shared solar project. In this case, ECS installed, owns and operates the solar array; WES served as the project’s host and purchases the solar power. From an initial meeting of core members, it took about a year to develop the project.

The layout of the WES roof presented a challenge to the project. Its flat roof is arrayed in three different chunks. More pressing, the roof needed replacement before solar was installed. ECS was able to raise funds to donate the new roof to WES. ECS was able to make use of the contract documentation from the two previous projects, saving significant time and money by adapting to reflect D.C. law. ECS is willing to share the legal documentation used on this project with other groups looking to do a similar project. The D.C. market remains strong, so this is a good time for organizations to think about going solar.