U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Solar Energy Technologies Program – Procuring Solar for Federal Facilities

Requirements for Renewable Energy on Federal Sites

There are four federal guidelines for renewable energy projects. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) sets the primary renewable energy requirements for federal agencies, and the other three guidelines build on EPAct 2005. For additional details on each the following federal mandates, visit the Federal Energy Management Program Web site.  

Energy Policy Act of 2005

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) set the primary renewable energy requirements for federal agencies. It requires that—to the extent economically feasible and technically practicable—the following amounts of the total electricity used by the federal government come from renewable energy.

Graphic of three pie charts, showing the energy requirements for federal agencies under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The first pie chart shows a slice, representing 3%, for 2007 to 2009. The second pie chart shows a slice, representing 5%, for 2010 to 2012. A third pie chart shows a slice, representing 7.5% from 2013 and after.

The EPAct 2005 defines renewable energy as "electric energy generated from solar, wind, biomass, landfill gas, ocean (including tidal, wave, current, and thermal), geothermal, municipal solid waste, or new hydroelectric generation capacity achieved from increased efficiency or additions of new capacity at an existing hydroelectric project."

Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management

Executive Order (E.O.) 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management, signed on January 24, 2007, fortifies key goals of the federal government. It sets more challenging goals than those of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Executive Order 13423 requires 50% new renewable energy ("new" renewable energy must come from facilities placed in service after January 1, 1999).

The FEMP guidance on E.O. 13423 and EPAct 2005 requires agencies to own renewable energy certificates (RECs) associated with any renewable energy counted toward the goal. 

Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007) requires that 30% of the hot-water demand in of new federal buildings (and for major renovations) be met with solar hot-water equipment provided that it is life-cycle cost effective.

Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance

Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, was signed on October 5, 2009. This new E.O. builds on the federal energy-efficiency mandates of the EPAct 2005, the EISA 2007, and E.O. 13423 by using greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as a unifying metric for federal sustainability. This order establishes "an integrated strategy towards sustainability in the Federal Government" and makes "reduction of greenhouse gas emissions a priority for federal agencies." The order requires agencies to:

  • Appoint a senior sustainability officer (SSO);
  • Establish a GHG-emission baseline for fiscal year (FY) 2008;
  • Set GHG-emission reduction targets for fiscal year FY2020;
  • Create a strategic sustainability performance plan to document the plan to progress toward achieving the FY 2020 goals; and
  • Inventory and report its GHG emissions for the previous fiscal year, (beginning in January 2011).