NREL installs 1.6 MW PV system on roof of new US research facility

The system is comprised of more than 1,800 240-kilowatt panels. NREL added that additional PV will be installed on the RSF expansion (currently under construction) and on a nearby garage and parking lot.

In a statement, the laboratory added: “While the RSF adds 222,000 square feet of office space to the NREL campus, the building’s energy use only increases NREL’s overall consumption by six percent. It’s this remarkable achievement in ultra energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy that makes the building a shining example of NREL’s mission and desire to ‘walk the talk’."

The system is constructed, owned and serviced by Sun Edison. Under its power purchase agreement, said NREL, Sun Edison finances the first cost of the RSF PV system. Then Sun Edison sells the RECs generated from the system to Xcel Energy. This investment also generates a monthly revenue stream from DOE to Sun Edison, based on a formula of kilowatts per hour generated; the agreement lasts for 20 years.

"It’s a win for DOE and NREL, because the federal government does not incur the upfront costs of purchasing the PV system," Randy Dins, Federal Project Director for DOE’s Golden Office said. "We can accurately budget for a fixed price for solar electricity for a fixed period of time."