Military Base Upgrades with 1.1 MW Solar Array

As part of a major new contract to upgrade the facilities at a California U.S. Marine compound, a 1.1 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) array will be installed, making it one of the largest non-utility solar systems in the world.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin – February 7, 2003 [] Johnson Controls Government Systems, LLC has been awarded the contract for the third phase of a comprehensive energy and facility system upgrade program at the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command (MAGTFTC) at Twentynine Palms, California. The contract, valued at approximately US$51 million, is one of the largest single Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC) ever awarded by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Contracts office, which administers ESPC for Navy and Marine Corps facilities. ESPCs allow federal government agencies to fund improvements from energy savings and energy-related operational savings using standard performance guarantees. It is estimated that the total ESPC program will save the base about US$6.9 million each year over the course of the contract’s 20-year term, for a total savings of US$138 million. This phase will include construction and maintenance of three chilled water plants, the PV plant, solar daylighting and an energy management system. The 1.1 MW PV plant will be one of the highest capacity non-utility solar power plants in the world. The plant’s photovoltaic cell array will require six to eight acres of land on the base. The array will be used to supplement electric capacity during peak load periods. It can supply approximately one-fifteenth of the base’s annual electricity requirements. Much of the compound’s energy requirements comes from the more than 15,000 military personnel and their families live on the MAGTFTC at Twentynine Palms, which is located in the desert, 45 miles north of Palm Springs, California. Twentynine Palms has a two-fold mission: to operate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center to promote readiness of operating forces; and to provide facilities, services and support in response to the needs of those who live on the base. With summer temperatures occasionally reaching more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, adequately controlling indoor environments can significantly affect the productivity of those working at Twentynine Palms. “These upgrades will make the living conditions for the Marines more comfortable and reliable,” said Lt. Cmdr. Rob Tye, head of the facilities management division at MAGTFTC at Twentynine Palms. “We’re at the end of the electrical distribution system, our power comes from Palm Springs and there are a lot of potential power disruptions before it gets to us. Another benefit is that with the solar plant we will be meeting the executive order for reducing energy use and utilizing Renewable Energy sources. ” The contract also includes the installation of lighting controls and skylights in a dozen warehouses on the base to help reduce on-peak energy demand. “What makes this project especially interesting is the large, quantifiable, energy savings the installed hardware will generate for us,” said Wayne Hofeldt, Energy Manager at MAGTFTC Twentynine Palms.
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