Solar Array Powers Federal Complex

Cutting energy costs at Federal buildings is an on-going effort, and a mix of trusted and new energy sources. A natural gas combined heat and power (CHP) plant at the White Oak complex in Silver Springs, Maryland will get some power from a 3,000 square foot solar photovoltaic (PV) array.

Panels for the nearly 26 kW array were provided by the Southern States Power Company and photovoltaic (PV) panel manufacturer Sun Amp. There are 144, 1.8 W panels in the array, and it covers 1,872 square feet of space at the facility. “The Federal Research Center is a state-of-art, environmentally sound structure,” said Erbin Keith, president of Sempra Energy Solutions. “It is gratifying to dedicate this building knowing that our partnership is an investment in the new campus. We are proud to provide the best, most efficient and most reliable energy infrastructure.” Sempra Energy Solutions has a 20-year contract to provide energy services for the 3 million-square-foot campus. Under Federal Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) programs, a private company can finance the investment of installing energy-efficient equipment with no up-front costs to the government agency. Sempra financed the plant and plans to recover its costs through the energy-savings performance contract. White Oak is the new consolidated headquarters for the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and laboratory campus for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), and the Department of Health and Human Services’ branch of the FDA. The facility is the nation’s newest combined heat and power plant contracted under the photovoltaic technology-specific Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) ESPC. The array was developed to provide the building with energy, and a heating and cooling structure. Because the FDA needed a fully reliable and steady supply of electricity, Sempra Energy Solutions constructed a central utility plant using a natural gas combined heat and power technology that is supplemented with the PV array. The project incorporates renewable energy through the use of photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight into electricity. According to the GSA, the plant could reduce the energy consumed at White Oak by 30 percent.
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