CS-2009 EApc56: Renewable energy - distributed generation

  • Harnessing rooftop PV potential of warehouses

    This credit developed from conversations in the Warehouse-Distribution Center Adaptation Working Group (the work of which is seen in the W-DC (warehouse design & construction) credit requirements in the LEED rating system drafts). Working group members strongly believed that the large roof sizes of these space types presented excellent opportunities for generating renewable (specifically, solar) energy. Due to the typical size of these roofs, the capacity of the roofs to generate power often farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters). exceeds the buildings’ ability to utilize the power. In order to optimize the use of the resource, the energy produced would be distributed to the local power grid. Financial and regulatory hurdles have to date limited the widespread adoption of this strategy, known as distributed generation for rooftop photovoltaic projects.

    After many conversations with the Energy & Atmosphere Technical Advisory Group, the credit evolved into the version seen here. EA TAGLEED Technical Advisory Group (TAG): Subcommittees that consist of industry experts who assist in developing credit interpretations and technical improvements to the LEED system. input strengthened the credit to prohibit counting the power from solar facilities in this credit for the current EAc6: Green Power; to prevent the project from claiming the environmental attributes; and to broaden it to all space types beyond warehouses and distribution centers.

    While the solar facility size/generation capacity thresholds do not have associated points, since (as a pilot credit) this has not been incorporated into the broader collection of LEED credits. The multiple thresholds, however, are the way in which the EA TAG can monitor how well a project performs against the requirements. The three thresholds are listed in ascending level of difficulty and are intended to reward more points with higher levels of power generation.

    Credit Submittals


    1. Register for Pilot Credit(s) here
    2. Register a username at LEEDuser.com, and participate in online forum
    3. Submit feedback survey; supply PDF of your survey/confirmation of completion with credit documentation

    Credit Specific

    1. Copy of structural engineer verification, indicating that the building and roof are capable of supporting the anticipated solar loads.
    2. Copy of the signed rooftop lease agreement that shows compliance with the solar size/capacity and schedule requirements. A letter of intent is not acceptable.
    3. Copy of the grid interconnection approval, signed by the local utility
    4. Indication of total kW size, module type, number of modules, and nameplate rating of module.
    5. Proof that the building owner does not have a claim to the Renewable Energy Credits from the project (in the roof lease agreement).

    Additional Questions

    1. With what utility are is the project engaged for the distribution?
    2. What is the minimum and maximum allowable size of distributed rooftop generation systems in the project area?
    3. Is the project participating in a state- and/or utility-sponsored program? If so, which one?

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Core and Shell Development

    EA Pilot Credit 56: Renewable energy - distributed generation


    To support the installation of distributed renewable energy generation.


    Obtain structural engineer verification that the design and constructing of the building is capable of supporting planned photovoltaic technologies on the roof.


    Enter into a rooftop lease agreement committing to provide renewable, solar energy for distributed generation1that meets the following requirements:

    Solar facility capacity Points
    250 kW  
    500 kW  
    1,000 kW  

    The agreement must specify an expected commercial operation date for the solar facility that is within 18 months of building construction completion.

    Capacity of the solar facility shall be determined by summing the photovoltaic module (PV) power listed on the nameplates of the PV modules in units of watt and then dividing by 1,000 to convert to kilowatt (kW).

    The PV module power ratings are for Standard Test Conditions (STCSound transmission class (STC) is a single-number rating for the acoustic attenuation of airborne sound passing through a partition or other building element, such as a wall, roof, or door, as measured in an acoustical testing laboratory according to accepted industry practice. A higher STC rating provides more sound attenuation through a partition. (ANSI S12.60–2002)) of 1000 W/sq. meters solar irradiance and 25oC PV module temperature.

    While projects may use electricity from the solar facility, the facility cannot count towards the achievement of EAc2: On-site Renewable Energy Energy sources that are not depleted by use. Examples include energy from the sun, wind, and small (low-impact) hydropower, plus geothermal energy and wave and tidal systems.(BD&C rating systems) and EAc4 On-site and Off-site Renewable Energy (O&M rating systems).

    The building is prohibited from receiving or claiming ownership of environmental attributes generated by the on-site renewable energy facility. Environmental attributes shall include, without limitation, any and all carbon credits, renewable energy credits, emissions reductions, reporting rights, offsets and allowances attributable to the electric energy produced by the solar facility.

    1Distributed generation is the use of small-scale power generation technologies located close to the load being served. These systems reduce the amount of energy lost in transmitting electricity because the electricity is generated very near where it is used. Distributed generation systems are typically smaller than 10,000 kW. For purposes of this credit, distributed generation systems must deliver power to the utility distribution grid rather than to an individual building.
    2As a pilot credit, project teams will earn one point regardless of the threshold achieved. USGBC is indicating multiple thresholds to display the credit’s intended structure.

    General Pilot Documentation Requirements

    Register for the pilot credit

    Credits 1-14

    Credits 15-27

    Credits 28-42

    Credits 43-56

    Credits 57-67

    Credits 68-82

    Credits 83-103


Patrick Cellie Sustainability Consultant AECOM
Dec 28 2015
LEEDuser Member
39 Thumbs Up

PV system on Conference Center

Project Location: United States


a Conference Center seeking recertification under EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. v2009 has an installed PV system that seems to have all the requirements of the pilot credit:
- the building doesn't use any of the energy
- RECS are not owned by the building in any way.

So I'm wondering if we can get this credit and I have some questions:

- is there any specific size the PV system needs to be? this PV system is 99 kW
- is there any other technical requirement the system needs to meet?

Thanks in advance for your response.
- EAc4

Post a Reply
Noriko Yasuhara Woonerf Inc.
Oct 01 2013
LEEDuser Member
3526 Thumbs Up

documentation issue

Our project will lend the rooftop to other company "A" which will install PV panels on the entire roof areaRoof area is the area of the uppermost surface of the building which covers enclosed Gross Floor Area, as measured when projected onto a flat, horizontal surface (i.e. as seen in Roof Plan view). ‘Roofs’, or portions of roofs, covering unenclosed areas (e.g. roofs over porches and open covered parking structures) are not included in the areas used to evaluate compliance with SSc7.2, though they may be applicable to SSc7.1. and sell generated electricity to utility company.
The contract between the project owner and company "A" has not been completed yet, so the owner can submit only draft contract for now.
In addition, company "A" has not contracted with utility company yet neither. Besides that, there is no statement that the building owner does not have a claim to the Renewable Energy Credits from the project in the roof lease agreement. It is impossible to change the contract. Could you please tell us how can the project owner prove that it does not have a claim to the Renewable Energy Credits from the project? There are many difficulties in credit documentation.
Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

Noriko Yasuhara

Aaron Binkley Director, Sustainability Programs, Digital Realty Oct 01 2013 LEEDuser Expert 229 Thumbs Up

The power sales contract and/or the roof lease agreement should include a clause about ownership of the renewable energy certificates. If it does not, one would need to be incorporated into the contract or as a separate legal agreement between the appropriate parties.

Noriko Yasuhara Woonerf Inc. Oct 03 2013 LEEDuser Member 3526 Thumbs Up

Hi Aaron,

Thank you very much for your advice. Let me ask one more question. Do you think that the signed contract is necessary? The project owner has not completed contract with utility company yet. Only draft contract is available for now.


Aaron Binkley Director, Sustainability Programs, Digital Realty Oct 03 2013 LEEDuser Expert 229 Thumbs Up

You would need a signed contract for this credit.

Noriko Yasuhara Woonerf Inc. Oct 10 2013 LEEDuser Member 3526 Thumbs Up

Thank you . I understand.

Post a Reply
Chris Swale Construction & LEED Administrator - LEED AP, GGP, CCCA McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture
Oct 30 2012
LEEDuser Member
28 Thumbs Up

Green Power Purchase for LEED NC 2009

Is there any on-going requirement beyond the initial 2 year contract for a green power purchase?

Aaron Binkley Director, Sustainability Programs, Digital Realty Oct 30 2012 LEEDuser Expert 229 Thumbs Up

The Green Power purchase requirements are EA Credit 6, so you're best to verify the requirements there. As I recall though, the obligation is for a 2-year contract.
(This pilot credit forum for EApc56 is focused on large distributed generation projects, not green power purchase contracts.)

Post a Reply
Maria Vasapollo
May 05 2012
289 Thumbs Up

EBOM Pilot Credit 56

Does the building need to be a warehouse? Can the PV system be in the parking lot in lieu of a rooftop? Please advise.

Aaron Binkley Director, Sustainability Programs, Digital Realty May 08 2012 LEEDuser Expert 229 Thumbs Up

As noted in the overview, one intent of the credit is to optimize the use of an underutilized resource (i.e large rooftops) to support distributed generation. Other developed areas of a site such as a parking lot (as well as non-warehouse space types) can therefore also qualify, so long as the other criteria are still met. Undeveloped land on the site should not be utilized for this credit.

Maria Vasapollo May 08 2012 Guest 289 Thumbs Up

Thanks Aaron,
Another thing I just noticed is that it may conflict with EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. EA credit 4, which is a 6 pointer that we are pursuing. Do you think that's "double dipping" if we do both?


Aaron Binkley Director, Sustainability Programs, Digital Realty May 09 2012 LEEDuser Expert 229 Thumbs Up

Thanks for your question. EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. EAc4 is for clean energy consumed by the project: "...for using renewable energy either through the purchase of green power A subset of renewable energy composed of grid-based electricity produced from renewable energy sources.(RECs and carbon offsets), the use of onsite renewable systems, or a combination of the two."

This pilot credit, by contrast, specifically targets situations where supplying clean energy to the project is not feasible. Instead it acknowledges a benefit to the environment by supporting larger-scale clean energy delivered 'wholesale' directly and exclusively to the grid even though there is not a direct benefit to the individual project.

The LEED project cannot claim the "clean" attributes of the energy from the pilot credit's renewable energy system. So in short, no double-dipping allowed!

Maria Vasapollo May 09 2012 Guest 289 Thumbs Up

You've helped me so much with understanding the subtle differerence between the pilot and the EAc4. Since I know our project uses energy from the PV's I will go for EAc4 and not PC56. You've been a big help, thanks for your time.

Dhanujie Jayapala Sustainability Executive, MAS Active Trading Pvt Ltd Jun 20 2012 Guest 164 Thumbs Up

Dear Aaron,

We are also planning to go for large PV system over 500 kWp.
But due to the risk of leaks and ease of maintenance it might move to a free area of the project boundary.
We are not sure whether we can get it connect to the grid as a Net metering due to the legislation issues of our country.
In that case we might get registered as an Independent Power Producer which will make it unable us to claim the credit for On site renewable energy under NC 2009.
In that case would we be getting the benefit from this credit?

Aaron Binkley Director, Sustainability Programs, Digital Realty Jun 20 2012 LEEDuser Expert 229 Thumbs Up

I don't know your location or the net metering regulations there, but a system designated as an IPP can qualify for this credit. In that case, the clean power attributes wouldn't be usable by the LEED project, in order to avoid double-counting. As for it being in an area other than the roof, other developed areas of a site such as a parking lot can also qualify so long as the other criteria are still met. Undeveloped land on the site should not be utilized for this credit.

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