The Tower Companies (“Tower”) is a recognized green building leader that develops, owns, and operates over 6 million square feet of commercial office, multi-family residential, and retail shopping centers across the Washington Metropolitan area (DMV), with an additional 13 MSF in development. Their vision is to create a world where buildings inspire and enrich the lives of their occupants and create positive social change.
Tower has been committed to operating sustainable and healthy buildings for more than two decades, with a focus on clean energy and reducing their carbon footprint. The company has been carbon neutral since 2008 by purchasing renewable energy and carbon offsets, which has helped fund renewable energy projects in their operating region and across the nation. In addition, the team has reduced GHG emissions by more than 40% since 2010 by implementing energy conservation measures across the owned and operated portfolio. In 2020, Tower renewed their long-standing commitment by aligning with The Paris Agreement and Urban Land Institute’s Greenprint Program to achieve 50% emissions reduction by 2030 and net zero carbon by 2050.
Tower started to invest in on-site renewable energy in 2014 with the installation of their first solar project and since then, Tower has been expanding on-site solar PV across the portfolio of commercial office and multi-family buildings. There are several benefits associated with on-site solar for building owners such as:
Their latest project is a 573 kW solar PV canopy located in the parking lot of their Class A, multi-tenant office building at 1101 Wootton Parkway in Rockville, Maryland. The system is currently under construction and consists of 1,318 Cradle to Cradle solar panels from SunPower, an American based company, that are spread across seven different arrays. The carport structure was manufactured by RBI Solar.
Once complete, the project will generate about 680,000 kWh of clean, local energy and will supply solar power directly to the adjacent office building to offset over 20% of annual electricity demand. The project also includes the installation of four new electric vehicle charging stations, which was required as part of a generous Maryland Energy Administration grant.
Tower is installing the solar PV system “behind the meter”, which means the property will directly realize avoidance electricity on the monthly utility bills. In addition, they are developing the project under a direct ownership model, which means they are able to take advantage of various financial incentives available to those who own solar systems. These benefits include:
Tower has several other on-site solar PV projects currently in development. By the end of 2021, they will be generating almost 2-million kWh of solar energy across all the portfolio, from approximately 4,000 solar panels. This means that 5% of The Tower Companies’ properties total electricity demand will be generated from on-site, clean energy and is equal to planting 1,500 acres of trees each year that remove CO2 from the air.
As with all solar developments, many partners came together to make the project a reality. They include:
Special thanks to The Tower Companies and Gregorio Sustainability, LLC for sharing the details of their project.