U.S. Army’s Fort Bragg in North Carolina will soon be the home of the largest floating solar plant in the Southeast. The 1.1- MW floating solar photovoltaics (PV) system, as part of a Utility Energy Service Contract (UESC), was awarded to Duke Energy today.
The $36 million contract focuses on energy resilience and security at Fort Bragg: infrastructure modernization including lighting and water upgrades, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning and boiler system improvements.
Ameresco, Duke Energy’s prime contractor, will build the system on the Big Muddy Lake located at Camp Mackall. Fort Bragg will own and operate the system once construction is completed.
The floating solar installation will be paired with a 2-MW battery energy storage system. The system will supplement power to Fort Bragg from the local grid and provide backup power during electric service outages. Further details about the battery capacity in MW-hours have not been finalized, according to Duke.
Construction is expected to begin in November 2020.
Melisa Johns, vice president, Distributed Energy Solutions at Duke Energy, said, “This project takes a comprehensive look at the way energy is being used at Fort Bragg and will lead to more efficient energy use and significant cost savings.”
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that installing floating solar PV on the more than 24,000 man-made U.S. reservoirs could generate about 10 percent of the nation’s annual electricity production. Currently, floating solar makes up only about 1-2 percent of the world’s solar capacity, about 90 percent of which is in Asia.