Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Forest Service, Department of Energy (DOE) and General Services Administration (GSA) developed the first federal partnership to purchase solar power through a power purchase agreement (PPA). It’s the first time multiple agencies have coordinated together to purchase solar power under one contract. Under the partnership numerous federal offices in California and Nevada will work with a contractor to achieve greater efficiencies of scale to help reduce the cost of going solar.
The agencies developed the Federal Aggregated Solar Procurement Project (FASPP), which will allow them to achieve greater savings on solar power by taking advantage of the economies of scale. Since the agencies together have greater energy needs than any one agency does, the FASPP request will allow them to together negotiate for a lower cost solar system through a PPA.
“This model can help us achieve the President’s Executive Order calling for federal agencies to work together on procurements to increase clean energy use,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “By combining our efforts with our federal partners at the Forest Service, Department of Energy, and GSA, we are proving that solar power and other clean energy will save money, protect our air and water, and help us fight climate change.”
The FASPP was created following President Obama’s executive order in March, which requires federal agencies to increase renewable energy use by 30 percent while cutting their greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent over the next decade. This group of agencies is one of the first to respond. It includes agency offices at nine sites in San Jose, Menlo Park, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Bruno, Santa Rosa, Carson City and Reno, and the Forest Service regional office at Mare Island and will include a request for up to 5 megawatts of solar power. “Procurements like the Federal Aggregated Solar Procurement Pilot will help agencies achieve expanded renewable energy goals,” said Tim Unruh, Director of DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program.
“It is an honor to be involved in this cutting-edge, collaborative project that directly supports the federal sustainability goals of the next decade,” said Randy Moore, regional forester for the Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service. “The solar arrays planned for our Regional Office will offset approximately 90 percent of projected electrical use and demonstrate our commitment to increasing use of renewable energy and striving for more net-zero energy facilities.”
Still, it’s just a drop in the bucket. The federal government consumes more energy than any company in the U.S. In fact, the military alone consumes more energy than entire countries—it’s also making some of the biggest steps towards increasing its use of renewable energy. Overall, the federal government spends $5 billion a year on electricity. The executive order Obama signed last month is anticipated to save $1 billion in electric costs annually.
The FASPP will accept applications through May 29, 2015. Developers and contractors can review the request at FedBizOpps.gov.Tweet