The US Solar Energy Industries Association announced this week that it is partnering with energy company WGL Energy in an effort to offset the electricity use and greenhouse gas emissions connected with the group’s offices, travel, and events.
Announced on Tuesday, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) will receive 373 renewable energy credits (Solar Renewable Energy Certificates, or SRECs) and 554 Green-e® Climate certified carbon offsets from WGL Energy annually, based on calculations of the approximate emissions generated by staff travel, commuting, event attendee travel, and office and event electricity use.
Specifically, the SRECs provided to the SEIA are sourced from two WGL Energy solar projects — an 8 megawatt (MW) solar facility in Danville, Virginia, and a 2 MW solar facility in Hagerstown, Maryland. The SRECs from both solar facilities will allow the SEIA to match its electricity usage with clean energy. Over the course of 2018 and 2019, the SRECs awarded to the SEIA by WGL Energy will equal a reduction of 555 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), the equivalent of taking 119 cars off the road for a year.
The carbon offsets provided will have a total environmental impact equal to 1,108 metric tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of taking 237 cars off the road, and come from a landfill gas capture and destruction project operated in Winchester, Virginia. According to an SEIA spokesperson, “The project is endorsed by the Verified Carbon Standard and is Green-e® Climate certified.”
“This partnership was a no-brainer for us,” explained SEIA president & CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “As a trade association representing an industry that reduces CO2 emissions by 71 million metric tons annually, we are committed to embodying that sustainability in the way we power SEIA’s day-to-day operations and off-site events.”
The specifics of the partnership were not included in the company’s press release, but a spokesperson informed me that in exchange for the SRECs and carbon offsets, the SEIA will provide WGL with “complimentary passes to SEIA’s education events, promotion of WGL at SEIA events with signage, speaking and sponsorship opportunities, etc.”
“WGL Energy is proud to continue its long history with SEIA and pleased to share a mutual commitment to solar energy to help establish a clean and sustainable energy economy for many years to come,” added Sanjiv Mahan, President of WGL Energy. “We applaud SEIA for taking a big leap toward improving sustainability business practices as environmental stewards, and promoting diverse solutions that foster environmental health and expand the benefits of renewable power as an energy source.”
WGL Energy boasts 290 MW worth of distributed generation projects installed or currently under construction in the United States, across 22 states or territories (including the District of Columbia). In addition to its renewable energy sources, WGL Energy’s Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) offerings include RECs from hydroelectricity, wind, and of course, solar.
Moving forward, the SEIA will evaluate the success of its partnership with WGL throughout 2018 and 2019, but according to an SEIA spokesperson, “After 2019, SEIA intends to continue its sustainability leadership by working with a partner on SRECs and carbon offsets or other tools to green our electricity usage and reduce our carbon footprint.”
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