By: Carlo Massimo
The view from the roof of the National Capital Bank (NCB), Washington’s oldest bank, is impressive. You can view the dome of the Capitol, the copper roof of the Library of Congress, and all the sparkling white of Capitol Hill. But the roof is impressive, too. It’s covered with 60 solar panels. NCB is the first solar powered bank in the District.
Solar Energy World of Elkridge, Maryland wrapped up the installation earlier this month. The panels are expected to produce about 50 solar renewable energy credits (SRECs).
That’s enough to earn NCB significant savings from tax credits, as well as reducing overall energy costs in the long term.
“The initial motivation for installing the panels was economic,” says NCB’s President and CEO, Randy Anderson. “But the more we discussed the project, the more enthusiastic we became about the intrinsic value of the solar array.
“We see it as a statement of our mission to be a good corporate citizen, serving the needs of our community, its citizens, and its businesses by employing a renewable energy source and decreasing our carbon footprint.”
If there was ever a city to welcome that spirit of corporate citizenship and environmental awareness, it was Washington, where Mayor Bowser’s 2016 Sustainable DC Plan aims to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint for the District. That year, the Huffington Post called D.C. “the quiet capital of sustainable design.” In 2017, the US Green Building Council declared Washington the first LEED Platinum City in the world.
This summer, DC Council member Mary Cheh introduced the Clean Energy DC Act of 2018. If passed, the Act will require 100 percent of electricity sold in DC to come from renewable sources by 2032. NCB’s initiative seems like a good omen for the bill.
“We’re thrilled NCB has taken the initiative to install a solar array on their building, showing how any business can take advantage of renewable energy options in the District,” said Tommy Wells, Director of the DC Department of Energy and the Environment.
“This solar installation is also a great example of how next generation clean energy systems can be integrated into historic neighborhoods.”
It’s also a great example of the good will between the Bowser administration and the District’s business community, of which NCB is an old pillar. Founded in 1889, NCB is turning 129 this month. It has been a staple of the Capitol Hill community for six generations, providing personal and business banking service.
The bank’s track record includes sponsorship of Ready, Willing & Working, a nonprofit that helps end the cycle of homelessness by providing work and educational opportunities. NCB helped raise $20,000 to help grantees earn their GED. NCB donations have totaled some $1.7 million, including the Phoenix House in Arlington and SOME (So Others Might Eat).
Besides the original location on the Hill at 316 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, NCB has branches in Friendship Heights and in the Courthouse neighborhood of Arlington.