• System Specs | 265 kW
  • System Production | 350,875 kWh per year
  • Environmental Benefits | 259,878 pounds of coal burned | 576,062 miles driven by one passenger car | 6,329 incandescent lamps switched to compact fluorescents (CFLs)

Pike & Rose Has Everything—Including A Solar-Powered Parking Garage

Rockville, Md.,-based Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) had an extraordinary vision for the Pike District in its home city. With a long and storied history as a tobacco plantation, Civil War battlefield and home to locally famous bakeries like Corby’s (which attracted national companies like Continental Bakery Co., who brought Wonder Bread to the nation), the Pike District (named for the nearby Rockville Pike) needed its next evolution to be innovative, forward-thinking and attractive enough to bring new people to the area.

FRIT envisioned its newest development–Pike & Rose–as a mixed-use facility, including apartments, restaurants, retail establishments and office space, designed to encourage a way of living. The developer knew that it wanted to appeal to young professionals, so the building design had to account for the desires of the next generation—including an environmentally friendly facility, featuring a seven-level, 566-parking-space garage.

As a forward-thinking company, FRIT believes solar power is a key component of the U.S. energy future, as evidenced by the nine previous solar installations they have commissioned at properties around the country. So they knew from the start they wanted to include electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations in the garage, enough to make it the largest EV station installation in a commercial building. To power these stations (along with 24/7 lighting to increase the garage’s safety), FRIT chose the electricity source on which they have come to rely and installed an 855-panel solar array on the parking garage’s roof.

“Incorporating solar garage canopies and EV-charging at Pike & Rose is a visible and beneficial part of the overall sustainability of this community,” says Jay Corbalis from FRIT. “It’s a great representation of our commitment to sustainability and combines the benefits of power to operate the garage with the ability for EV drivers to charge their vehicles with clean, renewable energy, produced onsite.”

All that was left to do was find the most experienced commercial developer and installer in the solar industry to construct the project. Fortunately, Standard Solar’s offices were only 15 minutes away.

Standard Solar’s long-standing experience and commitment to excellence meant its engineers took the time to understand what FRIT was trying to accomplish. The company understood that FRIT wanted a highly visible solar array, designed to enhance the development’s reputation as a cutting-edge, hip place to be—an image essential to attracting the tenants FRIT hoped to serve.

Standard Solar’s innovative design, placed prominently on the top floor of the parking garage, can be seen for miles, enticing visitors, residents and those casually driving by to stop and explore Pike & Rose more closely. And, the entire project was completed in just four months.

“Thanks to Standard Solar the installation was seamless. The only surprise we encountered was a positive one–during final design we discovered an opportunity to include 16 additional panels based on the configuration of the garage, allowing us to increase the system’s capacity,” said Corbalis.

The 855-panel installation produces 350,875 kWh/year of electricity, the equivalent of changing 6,329 incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescents (CFLs), preventing 259,878 pounds of coal from being burned or taking 576,062 passenger-car miles off the road. It offsets 30 percent of the building’s power needs, saving the developer and—eventually—its clients’ money. It is also Maryland’s largest retail garage-top canopy and provides the largest number of EV charging stations at one retail center.

The project was funded in part by a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration under its “Parking Lot Solar PV Canopy with Electrical Vehicle Charger Grant Program.”

Pike & Rose Parking Garage Solar System

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