By Hamzat Sani, Special to the AFRO

Deanwood’s H.D. Woodson High School recently hosted D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s kickoff of #EarthWeekDC. The Northeast school is one of the largest on-site solar projects in the country.

Mayor Muriel Bowser poses with some of the collaborators for the solar project at H.D. Woodson High School. (Courtesy Photo)

Solar panels have been installed in the parking lot and roof at Woodson creating a state of the art photovoltaic (PV) system. The 670 kilowatt (kW) system is the most powerful solar power generating system out of the 50 local sites with a solar photovoltaic system. District facilities generate an estimated 11 megawatts of solar electricity for the city.

Mayor Bowser joined Department of General Services (DGS) Director Greer Johnson Gillis April 17 to cut the ribbon on the sustainability project anchored by robust public private partnerships. Partners WGL Energy Systems, Standard Solar, Bluefin/ Lightbox energy, DC Solar JV members – PEER Consultants & Solar Park USA, Sol Systems, M+W Group, WDC Solar and New Columbia Energy collectively invested $35 million in labor and materials into this project.

The Woodson project is a result of the city’s pledge to uphold the goals of the Paris Climate Accord in opposition to President Trump pulling the Federal government out of the agreement made by the Obama administration. While Bowser joins other national leaders in upholding the Paris Climate Accords, it is clear that she intends on setting D.C. on the global sustainability stage.

“My Administration has vowed to uphold the goals of the Paris Climate Accord and power District government facilities with 100% renewable energy. The H.D. Woodson solar installation is a tremendous example of how we are not only living up to our commitment, but also taking monumental steps toward becoming the sustainable capital of the world,” said Bowser.

The mayor has committed  D.C. to the largest 20-year wind power purchase agreement (PPA) ever entered by an American city as well as two large-scale solar PPAs representing one of the grandest onsite solar projects in the country. The city currently meets 30% of its electricity needs with clean energy from a regional wind farm and has a goal of powering District government facilities with 100% renewable energy.  It is estimated that the PPAs will save taxpayers $25 million, create $25 million in investments to the local economy and support more than 190 green jobs.

Bowser has declared this #EarthWeekDC and will be participating in a series of events to celebrate Earth Day including the D.C. Sustainability Awards, and trash cleanup activities throughout the city as part of the #TrashfreeDC Citywide Cleanup initiative.