The District’s Sustainable DC initiative establishes goals and targets for responding to climate change, including a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% below 2006 levels by 2032 and 80% by 2050. Conventional forms of energy emit carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the environment, while solar energy is emissions free.
Rooftop solar generation is the leading strategy for generating local, clean energy in the densely developed District. Installing solar panels on your home or business is one way that you can help the District achieve its greenhouse gas emission goals. In addition, rooftop solar not only benefits the environment but it can also save money on your annual energy costs.
How Does Solar Work?
Solar energy is energy from the sun. One way the sun’s energy can be harnessed is by using photovoltaic (PV) panels. PV panels and related equipment work by converting the sun’s rays (photons) into electricity we can use (electrons). Learn more >>
Five Easy Steps to Going Solar in DC
- Find your site potential using the DC Solar Tool
- Contact installers to get a free site assessment and quote
- Decide to own or lease the solar system. Visit CESA to learn more about solar financing.
- Explore local bulk purchasing options
- Install and reap the benefits!
Area installers will help you select the best system(s), guide you through the application processes for incentives and SRECs, and answer any questions you may have about how best to proceed.
Additional resources are available from DOEE. Contact DOEE to learn about our full range of energy-related programs that help District residents, businesses and property owners clean our air while growing our local economy.
A helpful checklist for consumer’s protection is available at IREC's Consumer Solar Checklist.
What if I can’t install solar where I live?
Solar operates most efficiently when there is direct access to sunlight. In some cases, rooftops may not be suitable for solar system because of shading from trees, the direction you roof faces, or the age of the roof or its support system. If your home isn’t suitable for rooftop solar or if you rent your home or apartment, an option might be subscribing to a community solar system.
Community solar is a way to allow members of a community the opportunity to share the benefits of solar power even if they cannot or prefer not to install solar panels on their property. By subscribing to a community solar project, you can get credit on your electric bill for the solar energy generated at a different location. Learn more about Community Renewable Energy Facilities in the District by visiting Pepco.
Financing Options for Solar
The price of solar PV systems has come down dramatically in recent years. There are now more ways to help finance solar installations.
What are Solar Renewable Energy Credits?
The District’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) has created a vibrant local market for Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). Learn more about SRECs at EPA.
Solar For All
The Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Amendment Act of 2016 (The Act), effective October 8, 2016, established the District of Columbia’s Solar for All Program (Solar for All). The Act intends to expand DC’s solar capacity, to increase the amount of solar generated within the District, and to provide the benefits of locally-generated solar energy to low-income households, small businesses, nonprofits, and seniors. Funded by the Renewable Energy Development Fund and administered by DOEE, Solar for All’s specific targets are to provide the benefits of solar electricity to 100,000 low-income households (at or below 80% Area Median Income), and to reduce their energy bills by 50% (based on the 2016 residential rate class average) by 2032. Read more>>
- DCRA Guidelines for Solar Systems – Permitting and safety inspections
- District of Columbia Solar Map - Estimate any property’s rooftop solar potential, costs, and environmental benefits
- Planning for Home Renewable Energy Systems
- PV WATTS Calculator - Estimate Your PV System's Electrical Output
- How Solar Water Heating Systems Work
- Federal Tax Credits Available for Solar and Energy Efficiency Projects (The District of Columbia does not offer tax incentives at this time.)
- Pepco Green Power Connection – Interconnection of PV systems
- DC Public Service Commission Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Program – Register solar systems to generate and sell solar renewable energy credits (SRECs)