Solar project to pay for itself within next seven years
Directorate of Public Works plumbers mount solar panels on the roof of the Rose Barracks Dining Facility, Building 603. The project, which cost $34,000, was paid for with funds generated from selling scrap metal and other recyclable material, and will save the garrison an estimated $5,100 per year in heating costs.

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- The U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr Directorate of Public Works used in-house manpower to install the 70 square meters of solar panels at the Dining Facility in Building 603 over the course of two-weeks.

The solar panel project began at Rose Barracks in April and, with a project cost of $34,000 and an estimated annual saving of $5,100, the project will pay for itself in less than seven years.

The solar panels produce domestic hot water for the kitchen, bathrooms and the dish-washing machines, which not only increases energy efficiency but also moves the garrison one step closer to achieving the Department of Defense Energy Conservation Program goals.

By using the in-house personnel to design, construct and operate this system, DPW minimized cost and maximized the size of the project. The solar panels will preheat the domestic hot water before it is heated up by the district heat system to its desirable temperatures.

Although it was considered a small project, the environmental benefits are enormous. Rose Barracks thermal solar project produces 50 MWh (170 MMBTU) of climate-friendly energy, preventing 11 tons of carbon dioxide per year from being released into the atmosphere.

The $34,000 for this project came out of RRR funds - money that is generated through selling of scrap metal and other recyclable material. This shows that community participation in saving energy and sorting their trash properly will not only benefit the environment, but will also generate money that can be used for other garrison programs such as funding green energy projects like this one.

Other renewable energy projects that will be completed soon are solar thermal panels for the Physical Fitness Center on Grafenwoehr's Main Post and photovoltaic panels for Main Post buildings 244 and 725, and Rose Barracks' buildings 680, 681 and 682.

(Robert Arlt is the chief of the Mechanical/Utilities Section at U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr's Directorate of Public Works.)

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16