White Sands Missile Range leaders came out to break ground and to commemorate the start of a renewable energy project at the site of the new Solar Photo Voltaic Array Project, the Army's largest solar array, April 19 on WSMR.
A 42-acre tract of land located about ΒΌ mile northeast of the Las Cruces Gate next to main post will be the site where 4.115 MW of single-axis vertical azimuth-tracking ground-mounted solar Photo Voltaic panels will be installed.
Garrison Commander Col. Leo Pullar thanked T.A. Ladd and the employees at DPW for the great work that they have done to make this happen. "It's a great day, exciting for us in the Army."
"It is obvious when you live here that this is the right place for (a solar array), here in New Mexico and here at WSMR. Folks coming down the hill will get to see the work that goes on here every day and understand and see the Army's commitment to going green and to be net zero and doing what we can for the environment," Pullar said.
Will Irby, Program manager with the Army Corps of Engineers, said the Army has put a lot of emphasis on renewable energy and reducing our demand on conventional energy resources. "We are very excited about this project. On behalf of the Corps of Engineers I'd like to thank everybody for coming. You've put together a great team under the leadership of Brig. Gen. John Ferrari, Col. Leo Pullar, T.A. Ladd, Irene Beck and Craig Collins from DPW," he said.
"You've got a great project here. Our partners in this, Siemens, have put together about 2 years worth of work to get to this point. So we are very happy to be here and break ground on this project. This will be the largest PV Array in the Army. We are very excited about that."
In conjunction with the 4.115 MW project, WSMR will also be installing a 350 kW solar PV Carport at the parking lot for the Headquarters Building 100.
The estimated energy generated in year one is 9,757,130 kWh for the 4.115 MW solar array and 602,561 kWh for the 350 kW solar carport for a grand total of 10,359,691 kWh, which is approximately 10 percent of WSMR's total annual energy consumption.
All energy generated from the project will be consumed by WSMR with none being sold to the local utility company.
Clearing of the solar farm site has begun and solar panel construction will begin in April 2012 with an estimated completion date of December 2012.The ground-mounted solar array will have an annual savings of $875,989.00 while the solar carport will save $54,098 annually. The total cost of both projects is $16.8M with a cost of $3.77 per Watt.
The solar project is being funded within an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) utilizing an Energy Services Agreement (ESA) that the Huntsville Army Corp of Engineers (COE) has awarded to Siemens on behalf of WSMR. Under the awarded task order, Siemens will maintain and operate the equipment and will provide the energy to WSMR. This agreement is for a period of 25 years. The simple payback is 18.1 years. The energy being provided will cost the same that WSMR is currently paying the local utility company which is a blended rate of $0.08/kWh. The Army will own the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). They will NOT be sold to help finance this project therefore; they can be used towards meeting Federal Renewable Energy Mandates.