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Renewable Energy Opportunities with the U.S. Government

This article is the first in a series by John K. Norris of MyEnergySolution about the potential for private renewable energy companies to access the large (and growing) market for clean energy sources within the federal government.

The U.S. General Services Administration, the federal agency in charge of building and managing government office and residential buildings, provides 362 million rentable square feet of working and living space for over one million federal employees throughout the country. This represents nearly 500,000 structures including 422,000 housing units.

It is reported the U.S. Government spends more than $7 billion a year on energy costs associated with operating its portfolio of buildings. In order for the many U.S. Government agencies to develop high performance green buildings and support the President’s and Congress’s vision for a clean energy future and provide greater taxpayer value, new build-to-suit projects, as well as major renovations of existing facilities, will incorporate renewable energy systems.

A major component of the federal governments drive towards renewable energy is the use of solar power systems. Solar energy is the most logical and practical solution for federal buildings because (1) a solar power system design is pertinent to the specific U.S. government use and tenant requirement; (2) a solar power system can be regulated to the specific energy requirements of the building throughout the day; (3) a system is self-contained on site of the government facility; and (4) a solar power system can be modified more effectively and easily as solar technology improves or the government tenant’s requirements change.

The potential market for the solar industry directly with the U.S. Government is enormous and some estimates are as high as $50 billion simply for existing buildings. Accordingly, this massive market does not even include the federal requirements that private leasers of buildings to the government “go green” through the use of renewable energy sources on leased space as the tens of thousands of private leases are renewed over the next ten years. In many cases the U.S. Government will be providing financial incentives (i.e. tax breaks, rebates or both) for private leasers to install renewable energy systems, namely solar systems, or to purchase “green” power from independent solar farms. Either way the future for solar power is enormous and largely untapped.

In the next segment, the author will discuss methods for solar providers to access the US Government market for solar energy.

John Keller Norris is the founder of Del Sol Capital Partners, LLC and is located in La Jolla, CA. Mr. Norris has been actively involved in the bidding, procurement and development of office space for the U.S. Government in the western U.S. Included in that process is the research, design and implementation of cost effective energy management systems in U.S. government leasehold facilities. Mr. Norris graduated from Ohio State University with a B.S. degree in Finance and Accounting and received an MBA from San Diego State University.

Photo Credit: dolanh via flickr under a CC license

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