Energy Efficiency, Solar, Sourcing Renewables - June 7, 2019
Solar at NASA WFF to power 80% of facility
Ground has been broken for a solar array project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility (NASA WFF) in Wallops Island, Virginia. The project will meet at least 80% of the site’s electrical consumption once complete, reducing the facility’s carbon output by more than 4,310 metric tons per year.
“This is a significant project for Wallops because it will create a renewable source of energy for our facility in the near-term, while also laying the foundation for the energy generated onsite to contribute to our region’s existing energy grid in the future,” said Dave Pierce, Wallops flight facility director, in a statement. “The installation of a solar field in such close proximity to a critical airspace is a rarity, and our project serves as a model to other similar facilities that it is possible to install a meaningful solar farm that will greatly reduce carbon output, even with limited real estate.”
The project, installed by Ameresco, Inc., will include ground-mounted solar panels installed near NASA WFF’s airfield as well as carport-canopy panels. With $14 million in renewable energy and infrastructure improvements, the solar array will provide more than $537,000 in first-year energy cost savings; in future years, solar output combined with energy conservation measures are expected to allow for $3.1 million in energy cost savings. Because the partnership between NASA WFF and Ameresco is an energy savings performance contract (ESPC), NASA WFF will accrue no upfront costs. Instead, through the ESPC, NASA WFF will fund the project through energy cost savings derived from the solar installation.