US Navy, November 30, 2011 - NAS JACKSONVILLE by Clark Pierce - Installation of the first of 2,534 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels began in mid-November on the west roof of NAS Jacksonville Hangar 1122 to help reduce the base’s conventional energy usage and promote environmental sustainability.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) “stimulus” funds of $5.7 million are paying for the installation of the grid-tied PV system that is expected to be completed by July 2012.
NAS Jacksonville Public Works Department Energy Manager Lt. j.g. Luis Velazquez is in charge of the construction project.
“When this PV system comes on line, it should generate about 605 kilowatt hours of continuous power during the day,” explained Velazquez. “That translates to about 720 megawatt hours per year, providing about 25 percent of the hangar’s annual electrical power needs.”
The hangar is home to three MH-60R Seahawk helicopter squadrons (HSM-70 “Spartans,” HSM-74 “Swamp Fox” and HSM-72 “Proud Warriors”) and the rooftop PV project will not impact their operational readiness.
“Like all solar PV users, NAS Jacksonville looks forward to a reasonable return on investment compared to purchasing the equivalent amount of power from an electric utility company,” said William Allen, construction field engineering manager for Atlantic Contingency Constructors of Norfolk, Va., the contractor for the project. “This is one of more than a half-dozen rooftop integrated PV systems we’re constructing for Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast. It represents tangible results from the Navy’s renewable energy and conservation plans.”
ARRA projects are intended to modernize Navy and Marine Corps shore infrastructure, enhance America's energy independence and sustain a steady and robust maritime force for decades.
Velazquez added, “This project contributes to achieving the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus’ energy goal of increasing alternative energy afloat and ashore – and by 2020 – producing at least 50 percent of shore-based energy requirements from alternative sources.”