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Georgetown U Launches Student-Driven Solar Energy Project

Georgetown University student solar initiative "Solar Street" has partnered the university with SolarCity to install 75 solar panels atop six university-owned townhouses on the Washington D.C. campus.

The panels represent 18 kilowatts of capacity and will produce nearly 20,000 kilowatts of electricity each year, according to the Georgetown Web site.

The energy generated by the project is expected to reduce more than 600,000 pounds of carbon pollution over its lifetime while saving the student body government more than $43,000 over the 20-year life of the power purchase agreement, according to project partner SolarCity.

These savings represent the difference between the cost of solar power and the higher cost that the University would otherwise pay to their electricity provider for electricity in those residences, according to a company release.

Students who live in the townhouses will continue to pay the same flat fee for their housing and the portion of the townhouse residents' total housing costs that are allotted toward utilities in a given year will not change.

"This project serves as a strong symbol of Georgetown's commitment to sustainable buildings, and it demonstrates Georgetown's local leadership as a partner in the Mayor's College and University Sustainability Pledge by helping to advance the District's goal to increase solar energy capacity," said Robin Morey, vice president for planning and facilities management at Georgetown, in a prepared statement.

The project is the first student-university partnership for solar energy at Georgetown, with students paying for power from the solar arrays and the university paying for energy upgrades in the six historic townhouses, including new, higher-amperage electrical panels.

"As a Georgetown alum, I'm proud to be helping the school make smart energy decisions," said SolarCity's Mid-Atlantic Regional Vice President Leon Keshishian. "We're excited to be helping a great university like Georgetown go solar and save money."

About the Author

Kevin Hudson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at sportswryter@yahoo.com.

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