Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 9, 2011


In an important symbol of America’s commitment to eco-diplomacy, the Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) announces the addition of a 100 kW peak photovoltaic array that has begun generating clean, renewable electricity for the U.S. Embassy in Athens. U.S. Ambassador Daniel B. Smith was joined by the Minister for the Environment, Energy and Climate Change of the Hellenic Republic, George Papaconstantinou on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 to inaugurate the new photovoltaic project.

The U.S. Embassy in Athens is joining the U.S. Embassies in Geneva, Kigali, and Abuja as the fourth photovoltaic installation completed by OBO, for a combined 604kW of photovoltaics installed.

The project’s solar panels, installed across the top deck of the Embassy’s garage, are capable of generating approximately 135 kWh of green electricity per year. The photovoltaic system will produce on average 20 percent of the embassy’s annual required power. Electricity produced by the solar panels is used immediately so there is no need for batteries to store the electricity. The installation will achieve an annual reduction of CO2 emissions of 135 tons, and the panels also shield vehicles from the sun.

A feasibility study was conducted by U.S. engineering firm Hankins and Anderson, of Richmond, Virginia, to identify the location and size of the array as well as the financial and environmental benefits. IBC Solar, of Germany, designed and constructed the array through their Grecian subsidiary.

Since 1999, as part of the Department’s Capital Security Construction Program, OBO has completed 88 new diplomatic facilities and has an additional 40 projects in design and construction. The program has successfully moved more than 26,000 people, furthering OBO’s mission to provide safe, secure, and functional facilities for the conduct of U.S. diplomacy and the promotion of U.S. interests worldwide. These facilities should represent American values and the best in American architecture, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, and construction execution.

For further information, please contact Angelina Rotella at RotellaA@State.gov or (703) 875-6763, or visit http://www.state.gov/obo/green/renewable/c48734.htm.



PRN: 2011/2097