Greening Burleith: Solar Presentation

By Francine Steininger, BCA Sustainability Coordinator, solar@burleith.org

 johns Hopkins graduate students take a rooftop solar tour of an apartment building in Mount pleasant. photos courtesy of grant Klein/DC Sun. 

johns Hopkins graduate students take a rooftop solar tour of an apartment building in Mount pleasant. photos courtesy of grant Klein/DC Sun. 

The time is right for going green with solar energy. More than 700 DC residents in six of the city's eight wards have gone solar by joining a neighborhood solar co-op. Now homeowners in Ward 2 are organizing one of their own with the help of DC SUN, a nonprofit organization that helps DC communities go solar by providing unbiased advice and local experience. By going solar together, neighbors can save up to 20 percent off the cost of a solar system and enjoy the support of the group throughout the process.

If you are interested in participating in an information session sponsored by the BCA and presented by DC SUN, send your name, address, phone, and email address to solar@burleith.org. The meeting will be held at the Georgetown Neighborhood Library on Thursday, July 23, from 6:30–8 pm, and will cover the basics of solar and explain how a solar co-op works.


  Typical DC residential solar photovoltaic systems are about 5kW and cost about $3-4/Watt.

Typical DC residential solar photovoltaic systems are about 5kW and cost about $3-4/Watt.

Going solar can dramatically reduce your utility bills and your global warming footprint. And there are a number of reasons why DC is a great place to start. Despite not being a real “state,” the District has a more aggressive incentive package for solar panel installations and energy efficiency than many other “real” states. The incentives available to DC residents include:

Federal Tax Credits. Take advantage of the significant tax credits still available in 2015 and 2016 for residential home owners installing panels on their principal residence. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s website, “A taxpayer may claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the United States that is owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer.”

For a solar-electric property,

  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, and on or before December 31, 2016.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

Solar RECs. You can sell your Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) in DC sometimes for much higher than in neighboring states (e.g., Maryland). DC’s extremely aggressive annual solar goals and a tough infrastructure and demographic environment have kept the DC SREC market undersupplied.

 dc solar installation.

dc solar installation.

DC Net Metering. D.C. also offers a solar Net Metering program, which is far ahead of most other “real” states where customers have a two-way meter that measures the flow of power in and out of the grid. The program pays full retail value to residential and commercial customers who produce more energy than they use as long as their systems produce less than a total of 100 kilowatts. For customers who rent or whose roofs aren't suitable for solar, virtual net metering lets them buy into an existing solar system in their neighborhood. The electricity produced by their portion of the solar installation is credited to their monthly electric bill.

OK, but how much does this all cost? You don’t want to spend an arm and a leg getting solar installed! Depending on your situation (and your roof) there are several different payment options for solar panels. The BCA/DC SUN's July 23 information session will cover all of these options including their costs and benefits. In addition, our DC SUN speaker will discuss what is going on in other DC neighborhoods regarding the community solar movement. Whether you're interested in going on your own, with Burleith, or with Ward 2, we will have information and answers for you.

Please sign up at the picnic on June 20 or email solar@burleith.org if you’d like more information about the July 23 information session.

We want to make it EASY for you to go green!