D.C.’s Largest Solar Array Debuts

Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus located on former Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus

By Dan Hounsell
May 3, 2021

Renewable energy is poised for another breakout. While the last few years slowed adoption of renewable energy technology, the overall trend is a steady uptake. While healthcare facilities  managers must navigate a host of complications in implementing solar arrays on their buildings, renewable technology such as solar energy is within the reach of just about any manager. 

Consider Washington, D.C., where the district’s largest solar canopy recently was unveiled on the grounds of the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus located on the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus, according to Solar Builder.

The clean energy generated by this solar array will be distributed through the Solar for All program. The installation began when Children’s National acquired a large five-story above-grade parking garage, which provided the perfect location for a solar array. The original goal for the parking garage was to incorporate a solar array, but the installation of the 1,148 kW system representing one of the district’s most complex solar systems.

For example, the load-bearing capacity of the concrete deck was less than the weight of the Spydercrane needed to lift and install the steel canopy frame. New Columbia Solar’s engineering team had to devise creative solutions, such as using large steel “railroad ties” to disperse the load of the Spydercrane across a larger surface area.

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