Keesler Air Force Base breaks ground on 1.5-MW solar carport

Aug 12, 2019 11:39 PM ET
Keesler Air Force Base breaks ground on 1.5-MW solar carport
Design-build company NORESCO has broken ground for a 1.5-MW solar carport at Keesler Air Force Base (AFB) in Mississippi, part of a $32.7 million guaranteed energy savings performance contract (ESPC).

Colonel Marcia Quigley, Commander, 81st Mission Support Group, and Chief Master Sergeant Patricia English, Superintendent, 81st Mission Support Group, hosted the groundbreaking ceremony. Colonel Quigley said, “The PV is the crown jewel of this ESPC. However, the contract is more than covered parking space and the panels. The project is going to help Keesler reduce energy consumption by 16% annually.”

Shawn Walsh, director federal business development, represented NORESCO during the ceremony and said, “This project has been a truly collaborative effort between Keesler AFB, the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer Center, the Defense Logistics Agency-Energy and NORESCO. We recognize that all these organizations have expended significant time and resources to make this ESPC project a success.”

The new solar array will annually generate over 2 million kWh and offset electricity currently purchased from the local utility, enhance resilience and improve mission assurance by diversifying the supply of electric power to the base. The PV array’s location close to the commissary and near the base’s new primary entry gate will prominently showcase the use of renewable energy and the base’s commitment to environmental stewardship. The carport canopy structures will also provide shade and shelter from inclement weather to nearly 500 cars parked underneath. The carports will meet 170 mph wind design requirements and will include LED security lighting mounted under the structure.

A video monitor kiosk in the commissary lobby will display electrical system output, historical data and how the array helps reduce greenhouse gases.

The project includes other energy conservation measures that will contribute to reducing baseline energy use by more than 15% while improving energy efficiency, reducing costs and reducing maintenance requirements. New LED light fixtures will improve personal safety, increase light levels and improve aesthetics. Chiller plant improvements and energy management control systems upgrades will improve climatic conditions and occupant comfort in operations buildings as well as enhance learning environments, supporting Keesler AFB’s mission.

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