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Project Success Stories

NREL's technology deployment best practices, project support, and technical assistance, and technology acceleration activities are resulting in successful renewable energy and energy efficiency implementation in numerous locations.

View success stories highlighting NREL's work with:

Cities and Communities

Greensburg, Kansas

Greensburg: Photo of wind turbines in a green field.

An International Inspiration for Green Disaster Recovery

For 3 years after a devastating tornado struck Greensburg, Kansas, NREL technical experts helped the town rebuild as a model green community completely powered by a 12.5 megawatt wind farm and surrounded by the highest per-capita concentration of LEED-certified buildings in the United States—13 of which are saving $200,000 annually. Learn more.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Photo of tables and chairs in a school classroom.

Energy-Efficient Design Lessons Learned for K-12 Schools

Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, NREL and the U.S. Department of Energy worked with the New Orleans school district to build four new schools that are 30% more efficient than standard code. Key lessons learned from this experience were documented to help other school districts and design teams working on school building projects in hot-humid climates. Learn more.

Federal Agencies

National Park Service

Photo of solar panels on the rooftop of Alcatraz Island's Cellhouse building.

From Prison Cells to Solar Cells: Alcatraz Island Goes Green

The 1,300 new solar photovoltaic panels on the rooftop of Alcatraz Island's Cellhouse building not only eliminate costs to transport diesel fuel to power the island, but also preserve its historic landscape. With the help of NREL, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Park Service, the island's solar panels are producing nearly 400,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. Learn more.

U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

Photo of a parking lot covered with solar panels.

Military Base Improves Energy Security, Moves Toward Energy Goals

A 3-megawatt (MW) landfill gas power purchase agreement and approximately 1 MW of solar photovoltaics are helping this military base meet a U.S. Department of Defense goal to get 25% of its energy from renewables by 2025. Technical experts from NREL and the U.S. Department of Energy analyzed energy efficiency and renewable energy least-cost options for the installation that can be replicated in other military locations. Learn more.

U.S. Department of the Treasury

Photo of a man and a woman smiling with a cloudy sky in the background.

NREL Helps 56,000 New Projects Move Forward

Merry Edwards Winery in California is almost 100% solar powered and just one example of the more than 77,511 projects projected to generate more than 27,100 megawatts of renewable energy. Each project application was reviewed by NREL prior to receiving funding through the U.S. Department of Treasury Recovery Act Section 1603 Treasury Grant Program. Learn about NREL support for other federal agencies.

Islands

U.S. Virgin Islands

Photo of a solar array atop a mountain with a town and the ocean in the background.

Landmark Solar Deal Completed with NREL Support

Three new power purchase agreements (PPAs) for more than 18 megawatts of solar are helping the U.S. Virgin Islands get one step closer to its goal of reducing its dependence on fossil fuel 60% by 2025. NREL technical experts worked with the local utility to consider critical project variables, reduce project uncertainty, and successfully execute the PPAs. Learn more.

Hawaii

Photo of a street lined with houses that all have rooftop solar panels.

NREL Helps Design LEED Platinum Affordable Housing

Each net-zero energy house in Kaupuni Village located in Oahu, Hawaii, is designed to use 40% less energy than a standard home. As part of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative's goal to achieve 70% clean energy by 2030, NREL helped design the model sustainable homes and educated homeowners on how to practice energy efficiency. Learn more.

Military Installations

U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

Photo of a parking lot covered with solar panels.

Military Base Improves Energy Security, Moves Toward Energy Goals

A 3-megawatt (MW) landfill gas power purchase agreement and approximately 1 MW of solar photovoltaics are helping this military base meet a U.S. Department of Defense goal to get 25% of its energy from renewables by 2025. Technical experts from NREL and DOE analyzed energy efficiency and renewable energy least-cost options for the installation that can be replicated in other military locations. Learn more.

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam

Photo of a parking lot covered with solar panels.

U.S. Coast Guard Sees Reduced Energy Costs and Usage After NREL’s Energy Assessment Training

From fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2012, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam reported an energy use reduction of 24% and a 42% decrease in energy costs. Those figures they directly attribute to the NREL-led energy assessment trainings they participated in and the subsequent implemented energy-saving retrofits. Learn more.

States

Hawaii

Photo of a street lined with houses that all have rooftop solar panels.

NREL Helps Design LEED Platinum Affordable Housing

Each net-zero energy house in Kaupuni Village located in Oahu, Hawaii, is designed to use 40% less energy than a standard home. As part of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative's goal to achieve 70% clean energy by 2030, NREL helped design the model sustainable homes and educated homeowners on how to practice energy efficiency. Learn more.

Tribes

Forest County Potawatomi Tribe

Photo of solar panels on a building rooftop.

Renewable Energy Projects Help Tribe Reduce Carbon Footprint

To meet carbon reduction goals, the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe installed a 30-kilowatt rooftop solar system, with partial funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 41 tons per year. NREL technical experts are providing guidance to the Tribe on its next project: a 2-megawatt anaerobic digester and biogas generation facility. Learn more.

Village of Venetie

Photo of a man standing in front of utility meters.

NREL Technical Assistance Leads to Lower Electric Bills for Alaskans

Through the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Indian Energy, NREL technical experts assisted the tribally owned utility in the Alaska Native community of Venetie in completing reports and management oversight necessary to reinstate the utility into the state of Alaska's Power Cost Equalization program, which provides subsidies to reduce the cost of electricity for local residents by more than 60%. Learn more about NREL's work with Tribes.

View success stories highlighting NREL's technology acceleration activities:

Buildings

Northeast Denver Housing Center

Photo of brick homes with solar panels installed on rooftops.

NREL Identifies PV for 28 Affordable Housing Units

NREL worked in cooperation with Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corporation, Groundwork Denver, Bella Energy, and the Governor's Energy Office of Colorado to recommend roof-mounted photovoltaic systems for use on 12 multi-family existing buildings to provide a total installed capacity of more than 47 kilowatts of renewable energy. Read the report and learn more about NREL's buildings work.

Boulder County Housing Authority

Photo of multi-family housing units with solar panels on the rooftops.

NREL Recommendations Lead to 153 Net Zero Energy Residences

Working with the Boulder County Housing Authority (BCHA) on its Paradigm Pilot Project, NREL used its BEopt tool to develop energy models for energy-efficient, replicable, low-income housing that costs less than conventional homes and uses renewable energy. NREL also reviewed final construction drawings and provided design comments on solar hot water and PV specifications for each unit and provided oversight to the renewable energy system installations. Learn more about the BCHA projects and read the NREL report.

Solar

Solarize

Photo of a home with solar panels installed on the rooftop.

Grassroots Movement Drives Down Solar Prices 30% in Portland, Oregon

Starting as a grassroots movement in 2009, Solarize Portland campaigns revolutionized the market for solar, driving down prices by more than 30% and generating more than 50 permanent green jobs within the city's solar industry. Since then, six Solarize Portland campaigns have resulted in a total installed capacity of 1.7 megawatts on 560 homes. NREL helped the City of Portland develop the Solarize Guidebook, which served as a reference guide for the city as it responded to inquiries about the program. Watch a video on the Solarize movement and learn more about NREL's solar market transformation activities.

Northeast Denver Housing Center

Photo of brick homes with solar panels installed on rooftops.

NREL Identifies PV for 28 Affordable Housing Units

NREL worked in cooperation with Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corporation, Groundwork Denver, Bella Energy, and the Governor's Energy Office of Colorado to recommend roof-mounted photovoltaic systems for use on 12 multi-family existing buildings to provide a total installed capacity of more than 47 kilowatts of renewable energy. Read the report and learn more about NREL's buildings work.

Wind

Wind for Schools

Photo of people standing behind yellow tape as a wind turbine is erected.

Wind Energy Education Project Helps Train Workforce of the Future

To aid in the development of a wind energy workforce for the future NREL designed the Wind for Schools project, which provides wind energy education and training at K-12 and university levels. To date, the project has helped hundreds of students find an interest in wind industry careers and has led to more than 120 wind installations at schools in 11 states. Learn more.