Georgetown Energy, a nonprofit corporation founded by Georgetown students, has chosen a vendor to supply solar panels for university townhouses, but its installation project is still awaiting approval from Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E and the Old Georgetown Board.
The project, called Solar Street, received $250,000 from the Student Activity Fee Endowment to install solar photovoltaic panels on the university-owned townhouses on 37th Street. The group plans to use $50,000 of the allotted amount to install the panels, starting with just seven townhouses in the 1400 block of 37th Street. The remaining money will be put in the Social Innovation and Public Service Green Revolving Loan Fund to provide money for future student projects.
The original timeline for the project planned to have the panels installed over the summer, but the process was delayed because the group had not chosen a solar panel vendor by the April 3 deadline.
According to project leader Patricia Cipollitti (SFS ’15), the group has since chosen to use California-based company SolarCity, the same vendor they included in their original proposal.
“We decided to make it a competitive process to see if we could get a better bid, a lower price, a better offer from another company,” Cipollitti said. “But in the end, we decided that SolarCity had the better package.”
Cipollitti added that the company has previously worked with ANC 2E and has established a good working relationship with the commission, which will help in gaining approval from the ANC and OGB.
According to Cipollitti, Solar City will present its proposal to the ANC and OGB in September.
Cipollitti is confident that the plans will be approved at the ANC meeting Sept. 4. The boards’ likeliest concern has been identified as the aesthetics of the panels, but in the current proposal they will not be visible from the street.
Georgetown Energy plans to have the solar panels installed by the end of the calendar year.
Cipollitti said that the recent approval of the 2010 Campus Plan will have no effect on Georgetown Energy’s plans.
“As far as we’re concerned, it doesn’t affect anything. We’ve been working closely with the university and facilities, and nothing has come up about that,” she said.
Director of Student Activities Fee and Endowment Implementation Colton Malkerson (COL ’13) agreed.
“The process is moving forward, and I’ve seen no indication that the campus plan will pose a problem to our efforts to complete SAFE reform implementation in a timely manner, as promised to students in January,” he said.