Southwest Library


123.8 kW

System Size


96 MT

of Carbon Emissions (Equivalent)


Tree Seedlings

Grown for 10 Years

The newly constructed Southwest Library, part of the DC Public Library system, opened its doors in May 2021 to serve as an important hub for community gatherings, meeting with friends, and of course, grabbing a good book to read. While the building is new, the southwest quadrant of DC had one of the original dedicated library spaces of the DC Public Library—many of which, at the time, were operating out of schools and homes. The library began operating out of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Junior High School in 1941 until the freestanding building was established in 1961. As part of a larger effort to renovate DC Public Library locations, the community pillar is starting its new chapter with clean and cutting-edge features.

While the library continues to serve as an essential haven for the Southwest community through providing free access to educational resources, it now also provides the latest technologies through an Innovation Lab and makerspace. The modern design reflects the mid-century modern architecture of the neighborhood and maximizes the use of sunlight through its peaked ceilings, wall-to-wall windows, and rooftop solar system.

New Columbia Solar installed a 123.84 kW solar system to follow the library’s uniquely serrated roof structure. The system uses flat roof attachments and customized engineering to seamlessly blend the clean energy-producing panels with the building’s mid-century modern architecture. By installing the solar system and integrating other environmentally responsive materials into the overall design, the library received a LEED Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for energy efficiency and sustainability.

The system began producing energy when the Southwest Library opened in May and has since provided environmental and community benefits with its clean energy. New Columbia Solar continues to maintain the system and hundreds of similar projects across the District to make solar power accessible and feasible for our city.