DPW ramps up photovoltaic energy use
May 29, 2014
VICENZA, Italy -- U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza has increased solar energy capacity on bases in Vicenza by more than 400 percent with the installation of 4 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) generation systems atop multiple buildings on Caserma Del Din.
Completed May 15, the installation work is the latest in a series of PV projects undertaken by the Army in Italy.
"The installation of 12,106 PV modules and 159 DC/AC inverters was completed in only 30 calendar days," said Luca Muzzana, project manager with the Directorate of Public Works Engineering Services Section. "It is the fastest installation of PV that I've seen in Italy in recent years."
Prime contractor, Vicenza-based Palladio Impianti srl, received notice to proceed on the project April 15.
"With many local subcontractors, Palladio Impianti srl had an average of 40 workers going 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week including holidays to get the job done," Muzzana said.
The effort included a partnership with the Regional Contracting Office spearheaded by Elisa Marchetti, Patrizia Meneguzzo and Karl Geyer, as well as the DPW technical team of Gregory Vallery, Thomas Raffaello and Armando Gobbo.
Work was executed under a single base contract with 14 options for various buildings, with the major distinctions being between installation on clay tile roofs versus metal roofs.
The project is a continuation of efforts to reach the U.S. Army's goal for "Net Zero" installations: bases that generate as much energy on-site as they consume over the course of a year. Key areas of emphasis to achieve "Net Zero" are reduced energy consumption and increased energy generation.
"The Army mandate is to achieve 25 percent of the facility energy consumption from renewable energy sources by 2030," said Muzzana.
DPW Engineering Division Chief Greg Vallery began the design process for installation of photovoltaic systems throughout the Vicenza and Camp Darby military communities in 2011. The first installation comprised about 1 MW on existing structures on Caserma Ederle such as the Commissary, the Arena, Ederle Inn and barracks buildings, and 300 kilowatts (kW) on buildings in the Villaggio housing area. In Livorno, 1.4 MW was installed on seven warehouse roofs. On Caserma Del Din 400 kW were installed on four existing buildings in the legacy zone.
Future PV projects in Vicenza include plans for an additional 300 kW generation capability on Caserma Ederle and 350 kW on Child Development Center Building 703, Muzzana said.
Additional installation that is awaiting funding on Caserma Del Din includes the Fitness Center roof and a proposal is in the works to add PV to the two parking structures on Del Din, Muzzana said.
"However, funding is typically tied to 'pay back' on energy savings from the potential energy generation versus the cost of the project. Installation on the parking structure roofs would also require construction of a canopy structure in addition to the PV panels and inverters," he said.
Similar systems can be seen at Autostrada stops and other location in Italy, Muzzana said, where they provide shade for automobiles while generating power.
In addition to the greater generation capacity from the installation of PV modules, DPW planners are pursuing funding for installation of 2 MW of battery capacity for the holistic system, Muzzana said. The battery bank would permit the self-management of power, balancing fluctuations in PV electrical generation, such as when a cloud passes overhead, and the generation required from the CoGeneration plant.
"Presently, when a cloud goes overhead, the grid system would require additional power supplied by the city utility until generation could be realized from the CoGen plant. With a battery bank, we will be able to adjust to such changes, reducing costs," he said.
USAG Vicenza is also working on reducing electrical consumption through the continued installation of Light Emitting Diode lighting. Future projects include replacing perimeter lighting on Vicenza installations with LEDs, and replacing street lights on Villaggio and Del Din with LEDs, as was done on Caserma Ederle in 2013.
The LED project will include approximately 1,700 lamps, each achieving up to 70 percent savings over the older technologies they replace, Muzzana said.
"LEDs we're using come from iGuzzini. One installed 30 watt LED system replaces one 140 watt HPS, or High Pressure Sodium, bulb and provides much better illumination, while greatly reducing light pollution by directing the light where it is needed," Muzzana said.