Capital Partners Solar Project

Capital Partner Solar Project
Solar Project Brings Energy to Three D.C. Institutions

Capital Partners Solar Project is an innovative renewable energy project that provides solar power for the George Washington University (GW), American University (AU) and the George Washington University Hospital (GWUH). It is comprised of 53.5 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) power.


This project demonstrates how large organizations in an urban setting can partner to significantly reduce their carbon footprints by purchasing offsite solar energy. Supplied by Duke Energy Renewables, the solar power helps all three institutions reduce their carbon footprint significantly, abating approximately 84,900 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) compared to conventional electricity. This is equivalent to taking roughly 17,900 cars off the road. In addition, the project will yield economic savings for each institution as the price of traditional power is expected to increase over the duration of the 20-year project contract. 


Designed and facilitated by CustomerFirst Renewables (CFR), this project is a model for other urban institutions that want to meet their electricity needs using renewable energy. The groundbreaking for the first site located in Pasquotank County near Elizabeth City, NC took place in summer 2014 and the project began to deliver electricity in full by the beginning of 2016.


The partnership was announced on June 24, 2014. Below is more information about the sustainability efforts of each partner.


The George Washington University

GW works to integrate sustainability into practice, research, teaching, and outreach. The university was the first in D.C. to sign the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, agreeing to carbon neutrality goals. The university is undertaking many sustainability efforts, including urban farming, LEED certified buildings, student-led projects in D.C. and around the globe, an interdisciplinary sustainability minor, and faculty research. GW and Duke Energy have signed a memorandum of understanding for a multiyear research collaboration to study the project and other renewable energy topics. Duke Energy provides resources and shares data that provide GW researchers with the ability to describe and communicate the impacts of this landmark energy project.


American University

Sustainability is integrated throughout AU; it is evident in offices, grounds and building management, academic centers, programs, degrees, and courses. AU has made a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2020. Faculty members research sustainability on and off campus, such as analyzing AU’s 10 green roofs and others in the District for their environmental benefits. Students lead sustainability efforts through programs, clubs, an organic garden, and they participate in research. All new buildings are built to meet LEED Gold standards and the university’s campus wide zero-waste effort is integrated into campus culture.


The George Washington University Hospital

Last fall, GW Hospital initiated an internal “Healthier, Happier” campaign to highlight current sustainability efforts and also to garner the support and ideas of frontline staff. The campaign’s combined focus is on healthier food, cleaner energy, safer chemicals, less waste, and smarter purchasing; and GW Hospital is proud to showcase achievements in all of these areas. From healthier food options in the cafeteria to installing more efficient lighting to increased use of “green” cleaning chemicals, GW Hospital strives to not only excel in clinical care but also in a commitment to sustainability and caring for the environment.


Duke Energy Renewables

Duke Energy Renewables, part of Duke Energy’s Commercial Businesses, is a leader in developing innovative wind and solar energy generation projects for customers throughout the United States. The company has invested more than $3 billion in renewable energy over the past seven years and currently owns and operates almost 1,800 MW of large-scale wind and solar energy facilities across the nation. The company’s growing portfolio of commercial renewable assets includes 15 wind farms and 21 solar farms in operation in 12 states, with an additional 500 MW under construction.


CustomerFirst Renewables

CustomerFirst Renewables is an independent advisory services firm that designs and delivers economically attractive, large-scale renewable energy solutions, tailored and optimized to customer needs. CFR works entirely on behalf of institutional and corporate buyers to advise on holistic energy strategy, on- and offsite renewable power procurement, and successful organizational implementation. CFR is dedicated to becoming a key catalyst in doubling U.S. renewable electricity usage by 2025. With an experienced and international team, the company has a 100% success rate for getting projects to operation.


Duke Energy Renewables Innovation Fund

Through the Duke Energy Renewables Innovation Fund, interdisciplinary GW faculty teams can compete for grant funding to conduct energy-related research.  The Fund was established in 2015 with seed funding from Duke Energy Renewables.  The GW Sustainability Collaborative runs the competition, and the awards winners are selected by a team of representatives from GW and Duke Energy Renewables.