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The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Constitution Hall photovoltaic system helps the DAR to stabilize and reduce electric energy costs for its historic buildings in Washington, D. C., just a few hundred yards from the White House. The rooftop 59kW solar panel array installation was completed in June 2014 and produces about 100,786 kWh of energy per year to help offset the energy demand of DAR Headquarters – a complex of buildings in the nation’s capital. Designed to house the annual DAR convention, Constitution Hall (as of August 2015) was designated a National Historic Landmark Building in 1985 and is Washington D.C.’s largest Concert Hall, with more than half a million patrons each year. But the building’s historic status raised special challenges. DAR has had a conservation committee dedicated to environmental issues for more than 105 years, and one of the society’s founding missions is historic preservation; therefore the organization looked for a way to combine environmentally-friendly renewable energy and historic preservation to meet both objectives. Powering Constitution Hall with photovoltaics promised to be the most effective solution.
Designed by renowned architect John Russell Pope and built in 1929, Constitution Hall must adhere to certain regulations to preserve its historical integrity as a designated National Historic Landmark Building.
TenKsolar and Standard Solar, the companies DAR contracted for the project, were able to design and create a system to meet structural conditions, historic preservation requirements and an economical solution. The solar panel array that now sits on the roof of Constitution Hall is in accordance with National Historic Landmark regulations primarily because it is not visible at street level.
Additionally, the surface area of Constitution Hall’s roof is smaller than many buildings that typically have a solar array installation and structurally it cannot withstand as much weight as newer buildings. The DAR solar system design contains more panels, while still being lighter weight, and produces more energy than an average solar array. There are 169 TenK Solar RAIS 410XT-A modules supported by a ballasted racking system. The system is converted from DC to AC power by 120 APS YC500A Micro-inverters. All of the PV modules are oriented due south.
The system monitors energy produced and conserved in real-time by a Draker data logger. The energy produced by the system saves the equivalent of 69.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide which is an annual offset equal to that of 57.1 acres of forest or a reduction of 7,820 gallons of gasoline consumed.
The DAR Constitution Hall photovoltaic system - made possible because of donations – shows how solar production can be maximized on historic and urban buildings where space is limited.
The DAR is a women’s non-political lineage organization that was founded in 1890. It is and is open to any woman 18 years of age or older, regardless of religion, race or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution. Its membership exceeds more 177,000 women from more than 3,000 chapters from every state and around the world. Ground was broken for DAR Constitution Hall on June 22, 1928. The cornerstone was laid by Mrs. Calvin Coolidge on October 30, 1928, using the trowel George Washington used to lay the cornerstone at the Capitol in 1793. Mrs. Herbert Hoover was the guest speaker at the formal dedication on April 19, 1929.
Standard Solar is a full-service solar provider in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area that delivers development, construction, integration, financing and installation of solar electric systems. Since 2004, Standard Solar has made solar energy financially accessible, helping customers through financing options, including Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and navigating expanded federal and state and local tax credits. The company’s Standard Energy Solutions (SES) division provides home energy solutions including home solar, energy efficiency and energy management services.
TenK Solar is a commercial rooftop solar solutions provider that specializes in systems that maximize rooftop solar sites with weight and space limitations.