Catholic University to Announce Solar Panel Installation

Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:53am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

CUA Partners with Washington Gas Energy Services and Standard Solar to Create
Washington`s Largest Solar-Energy System

WASHINGTON--(Business Wire)--
More than 1,000 solar panels will be installed on four Catholic University
buildings this fall, creating the largest solar-energy system in the Washington,
D.C., metropolitan area. 

CUA has signed a 20-year agreement with Washington Gas Energy Services Inc.
(WGES) to purchase electricity generated by the solar panels at guaranteed

In November, Standard Solar Inc. of Gaithersburg, Md., will install 1,088
3-by-6-foot solar panels on the roofs of the Raymond A. DuFour Center and
Aquinas, Flather and Gibbons halls. Collectively, the panels will comprise the
largest photovoltaic system in the Washington area, in terms of electricity that
will be produced. 

The solar-panel system, which will be installed at no cost to CUA and be owned
and operated by WGES, will produce about 340,000 kilowatt hours of electricity
each year. The projected solar-generated electricity represents about
three-quarters of 1 percent of the 44 million kilowatt hours used annually by
the university. The electricity will be used by the buildings where it is

By the end of the year, installation of 30,233 square feet of solar panels will
be completed and the panels will be producing electricity. The four buildings
were chosen for their southern exposure, among other criteria, after an
evaluation of 20 campus buildings. 

"As part of our Catholic faith, we strive to be good environmental stewards,"
said Very Rev. David M. O`Connell, C.M., president of Catholic University.
"Including solar - a `clean` energy that doesn`t pollute or create greenhouse
gases - among Catholic University`s resources is a perfect fit for the
university`s mission." 

The agreement is the latest accomplishment in CUA`s commitment to being
environmentally friendly. In 2002, CUA was the first university in the
Washington area to purchase a portion of its electricity through wind power. In
2008, the university received an Award of Excellence from the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency for its recycling efforts. In January 2009, CUA opened the
first new LEED-compliant student residence hall in Washington, D.C. 

"The price of electricity, as we see it right now, is going to rise," said Brian
Alexander, director of energy and utilities management at CUA. "With this
20-year agreement, we will save money on our energy costs." 

"By hosting this project, CUA is also helping the District of Columbia achieve
its citywide solar energy goals," said Harry Warren, president of WGES of
Herndon, Va. "The Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008 calls for a growing
contribution from solar energy each year through 2020, and CUA`s project will
contribute about 10 percent of the city`s total solar power production goal for

CUA has incorporated teaching moments in the project. Students, faculty and
staff will have access via the CUA Web site to real-time data on the campus`
solar energy production. Engineering and architectural students will get a
first-hand look at the installation. And a solar-energy design competition for
students is being planned by the School of Engineering, which this year added an
alternative and renewable energy concentration to its curriculum. 

"Solar energy produces no carbon-dioxide emissions. Soon, almost 1 percent of
the power we use will be climate beneficial," Alexander said. With the use of
solar-generated electricity, CUA will produce 332 fewer tons of carbon emissions
annually. "This project shows our students, faculty and staff that solar power
is one option as we all seek to make a greater contribution to solving the
climate-warming issue," he said. 

"The Catholic University of America and Washington Gas Energy Systems are
setting an example all colleges and universities should follow for the valuable
role they serve in educating - and demonstrating - to the next generation of
leaders throughout society how we all need to think and act more sustainably,"
said Tony Clifford, chief executive officer of Standard Solar. 

"Universities are uniquely positioned to deploy solar electric systems similar
to Catholic`s," Clifford added. "And they can do so with capital provided not by
their operating budgets or endowments, but by investors who, like Washington Gas
Energy Systems, purchase and own the panel systems and benefit from available
tax incentives." 

The Catholic University of America, located near the heart of Washington, D.C.,
is unique as the national university of the Catholic Church in America. Founded
in 1887 and chartered by Congress, the university opened as a graduate and
research institution. Undergraduate programs were introduced in 1904. Today the
private and coeducational campus has approximately 6,770 undergraduate and
graduate students enrolled in 12 schools of architecture and planning, arts and
sciences, canon law, engineering, law, library and information science, music,
nursing, philosophy, professional studies, social service, and theology and
religious studies. For more information, visit

Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. is one of the largest competitive providers
of electricity and natural gas in the mid-Atlantic region, and supplies over
230,000 customers in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia.
Headquartered in Herndon, Va., Washington Gas Energy Services is an affiliate of
Washington Gas and a subsidiary of WGL Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:WGL). For more
information, visit

Standard Solar is a full-service developer, integrator and installer of solar
electric systems for academic, commercial, government and residential customers
throughout Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania,
and North Carolina. It serves more than 400 customers throughout the
Mid-Atlantic region and has created more than 50 green jobs since the summer
2008. For more information, visit

 WHEN:     10:30 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 21                                                                                          
 WHERE:    The Catholic University of America                                                                                      
           Flather Hall rooftop                                                                                                    
           620 Michigan Ave., N.E.                                                                                                 
           Washington, D.C.                                                                                                        
 MEDIA:    Reporters and photographers who would like to cover the event must contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy at 202-319-5600.  

Catholic University of America
Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy
Public Affairs
Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc.
Leah Gibbons, 703-793-7565

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