To mark Earth Day, Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) Director Rob Ivester and ESPC ENABLE Program Manager Ira Birnbaum joined officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the energy service company (ESCO) and financier team of Legatus6 and Constellation New Energy, and Congressman Dave Trone at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the NIST solar photovoltaic (PV) project.

Image of 10 men and one woman holding a green ribbon with three men in the middle holding scissors to cut the ribbon.
NIST celebrated Earth Day by holding a ribbon-cutting event for its new solar field.
Courtesy of NIST

The project, implemented using FEMP’s Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) ENABLE program, is a 5 MW DC, 4 MW AC ground-mounted PV system. The project was put in place using an ESPC energy sales agreement (ESA)—the second under the ESPC ENABLE program. It is the largest PV system installed at a civilian government agency that uses all of the produced electricity on-site, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Photovoltaic panels in a row with a gravel path between them.

NIST installed a 5 MW DC, 4 MW AC ground-mounted PV system using an ESPC ESA.

Courtesy of NIST

The project represents an economical clean-energy solution that reduces government energy costs. It generates significant infrastructure development and gives a boost to manufacturing as well as excellent construction and other trades-related jobs—and all this at a cost savings to the U.S. government.

The project was awarded to Legatus6, a service disabled veteran-owned small business solar developer and ESCO, with financing provided by Constellation New Energy. It was the sixteenth project awarded under ESPC ENABLE (the current number of ESPC ENABLE projects awarded now stands at 20).

The $10.2 million contract makes it the largest ESPC ENABLE project to date. Over the 20-year contract period, during which the ESCO will own, operate, maintain, repair and replace the system, NIST will gain the following benefits:

  • Receive at least 88.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity generated by the solar PV system
  • Displace more than $11.7 million of electricity purchased from its commercial provider
  • Realize a net savings of more than $ 3.5 million.

After NIST purchases the system at the end of the contract, as required under an ESPC ESA, savings are anticipated for an additional 10 years of solar generation where NIST is expected to save an additional $8.3 million, bringing the total net electric bill savings to almost $12 million.

For additional project information, read FEMP’s case study and NIST's press release.