Pentagon to install rooftop solar panels

The Pentagon will install solar panels, part of the first round of $250 million of awards to improve renewable energy at federal buildings, the Energy Department confirmed Wednesday.

In addition to the rooftop panels, the Pentagon’s upgrades will include solar thermal panels and a heat recovery pump system. Other recipients will include on-site solar photovoltaics at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Va., and a heat pump system for the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center that can reduce annual emissions by about 2,240 metric tons.

The $104 million in awards, paid for by Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds, are “hopefully the first [round] of three,” a Pentagon spokesperson told The Hill at a question-and-answer session following the briefing.

The Energy Department’s Federal Energy Management Program will begin accepting applicants for the second round of funding later this month.

“President Biden has charged the Federal Government to lead by example by transforming its footprint of over 300,000 buildings to be more energy efficient and climate resilient, which means cleaner air across the country,” White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory told reporters. “This investment, part of the president’s Investing in America agenda, will help achieve the administration’s ambitious federal sustainability goals while creating thousands of good-paying jobs, saving taxpayers money, and building healthier communities.”

The Biden administration in 2022 announced the Federal Building Performance Standard, which requires federal agencies to cut direct greenhouse gas emissions to zero in at least 30 percent of federal buildings by the end of the decade. The Energy Department estimates the projects announced Wednesday will save nearly $30 million on energy and water costs, while cutting emissions equivalent to 23,042 fewer gas-powered cars on the road.

The U.S. military produces the most emissions of any federal department, while national militaries in general are responsible for about 6 percent of total global emissions. According to a 2019 report by Durham and Lancaster University, if the military were a country unto itself it would be the 47th biggest emitter worldwide.

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