PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (Aug. 24, 2012) -- Solar power has come to the Presidio of Monterey with the completion of a 370 kilowatt photovoltaic array on the roof of Price Fitness Center this past spring.

The photovoltaic, or PV, array was sized to provide for the fitness center's annual electrical needs, which is projected to give the Presidio its first Net Zero electrical facility.

Net Zero refers to zero net energy consumption, leading to zero carbon emissions annually.

As a PG&E Net-Metered installation, the building will send excess power back to the grid, banking credits, and be able to draw power from the electrical grid during cloudy or winter months.

A huge benefit for the Presidio, and the Army, is that over the course of the year, so much power will be returned to the utility company on sunny days that the array's production is expected to cancel out the building's consumption.

The Department of Defense has been undertaking an aggressive campaign to mitigate its effects on the environment by mandating energy-intensity reduction and renewable-power generation on its many installations.

Answering the Army's call for cleaner, more independent energy sources, the Presidio has simultaneously lowered its yearly carbon emissions by approximately 85 tons, annual net electrical use by over 750 megawatt-hours (enough energy to power over a hundred homes or take almost 14 dozen cars off the road), and recurring utility budget by nearly $70,000 with the inauguration of its first major solar project.

The fitness center was selected as the first solar site here based solar access as well as its large, available, flat-roof area. Also, it is one of the few buildings on the Presidio with an individual electrical meter.

As one of the largest electrical users on the Presidio, the fitness center also offered one of the largest potential for savings. And as a heavily-used and highly-visible facility, scores of service members and civilians alike can discover the impact firsthand through the interactive kiosk which displays real-time production data, carbon footprint reductions, and total energy saved to date.

Patrons at the fitness center can look at the monitor on the wall next to the TV in the lobby and see how well the solar array is doing.

With its first success in the solar arena, Presidio Directorate of Public Works will gather data at the array to help drive future photovoltaic projects.

Page last updated Fri August 24th, 2012 at 00:00