The World's Largest Landlord Installs Solar
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is the largest public real estate organization in the country, and the world's largest landlord. GSA manages more than a quarter of the government's total procurement dollars and influences the management of $500 billion in federal assets, including 8,600 government-owned or leased buildings. In the summer of 2008, GSA tapped SolarCity to install a 274 kilowatt solar power array on the Otay Mesa Border Crossing Station in San Diego.
"Otay Mesa is a flagship facility, demonstrating how federal buildings can reduce their energy use in a cost-effective way," said Tim Cashman, the property manager for GSA's California Land Ports of Entry.
California's Busiest Port of Entry Goes Green
The Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection is responsible for screening all foreign visitors, returning American citizens and imported cargo that enters the U.S. at more than 300 land, air and sea ports. The Otay Mesa Commercial Port of Entry is the busiest commercial port on the California-Mexico border, and in 2007 handled more than 1.4 million trucks and $31.2 billion worth of goods in both directions. Otay Mesa's solar system is expected to offset a third of the facility's electricity bill.
Dragon Power—Harnessing Energy from Passing Vehicles to Generate Electricity
"We hope to serve as a model to other facilities," says Cashman, "and demonstrate how clean technology can improve government services."
GSA has deployed a wide variety of energy efficiency techniques in addition to solar, including "dragon power", a way to capture power transferred by the weight and motion of passing vehicles. The Otay Mesa Border Station is helping the federal government meet its mandate to go greener, something we can all appreciate.