Press Release

Bright Future For Nation’s Capitol Office Building Launches Largest Solar Array Of Its Kind

New solar PV system is the largest installation by a privately-held real estate developer on a Class A, commercial office building in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 20, 2015) – Today, Astrum Solar® and The Tower Companies (“Tower”) announced The Millennium Building, located at 1909 K Street NW, flipped the switch on a newly installed solar photovoltaic (PV) system. This project is a first of its kind in Washington, D.C. It will help improve the district’s environmental footprint and reduce the building’s operating costs. Both Tower and Astrum Solar led this initiative to hopefully inspire other commercial building owners to use on-site renewable energy in building operations.

Astrum Solar®, a Maryland based full service solar provider and a Direct Energy® company, designed and installed this 30 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system for Tower, a privately-held and family-owned organization that has both developed and managed The Millennium Building since 1973. The 235,000 SF, multi-tenant, commercial office building is LEED® Gold Certified under Existing Buildings: Operations and Management ("EBOM") and ENERGY STAR Certified with a current score of 86.

“It’s encouraging to see solar catching on for commercial uses. For years, homeowners have realized the benefit of solar to lower their energy costs and help the environment. The Tower Companies is a very forward thinking leader, we hope others will follow,” said Sandy Roskes, Chief Sales Officer of Astrum Solar.

The new solar PV system is located on the roof and features 109 American made panels (270 watts each), with an estimated annual production of nearly 40,000 kWh. That’s equivalent to operating three elevators in the building for one year. This is the first solar PV installation on a large, commercial, class-A, office building in Washington D.C. Tower decided to purchase instead of lease the system, which is a unique approach in the market. Tower has installed a live dashboard in the penthouse lobby, which will display the daily and on-going electricity generated and will act as a visible reminder of both the environmental and financial savings from this project.

Tower is committed to developing and managing buildings that are sustainable and socially responsible. “It’s in our DNA as an organization. We strive to be in the forefront of the green building industry and have wanted to incorporate solar for a while now,” said Eugenia Gregorio, Director of Corporate Responsibility for The Tower Companies. “When we combined the decreased cost of solar panels and the tax and SREC incentives available, the project just made good business sense and aligns with our environmental goals,” added Gregorio.

The project will contribute to the Sustainable DC Plan, and the long term goal of increasing renewable energy sources to 50% by 2032. According to the District Department of the Environment, there are more than 1200 PV systems in the District registered with the Renewable Portfolio Standard Program. That translates into approximately 9 MW of PV capacity. “The District of Columbia has one of the strongest solar markets in the nation thanks to the coordinated effort of industry, District Government, and strong advocates,” said Tommy Wells, Acting Director of the District Department of the Environment. “The Tower Companies’ new solar installation gets us closer to our ambitious renewable energy goals. On behalf of Mayor Bowser, I congratulate Tower for their leadership.”

About Astrum Solar: Astrum Solar, a Direct Energy® company,  is a leading national full-service solar provider, serving homeowners and businesses in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Astrum Solar’s mission is to spread solar power to the rooftops of America and to ensure that its customers get the most out of their solar panels: the most energy generated, the most electricity savings, the most beneficial environmental impact, and the most joy each time they see a sunny day.

About The Tower Companies: The Tower Companies is a family-owned and privately held real estate development and property management company with properties located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and was founded in 1947 by Albert Abramson. Tower owns, develops, and manages over 5 million square feet of office buildings, office parks, lifestyle centers, regional malls, eco-progressive live-work-play communities and hotels with over 8,000,000 SF in the development pipeline and is known among peers and the entire industry to be a green building pioneer and leader. In 2004, The Tower Companies certified the first LEED® multi-family apartments in the U.S. called Blair Towns. 95% of commercial and multi-family residential properties, which are both owned and directly managed by Tower, are LEED® certified and 85% are ENERGY STAR® certified. In addition, Tower publically reports GHG emissions to The Climate Registry and offsets 100% by purchasing renewable energy and carbon credits to support wind farms and other related projects around North America.The company envisions a world where buildings inspire and enrich the lives of their occupants, and create positive social change. In this world, people seek out buildings that better their health and well-being, connect them to thriving communities, and help to sustain the environment.