Find out how Ameresco is helping the US Marine Corps, a California hospital, and NASA reap major energy savings

by Brianna Crandall — June 24, 2019 — Ameresco, a US-based energy efficiency and renewable energy company serving businesses and organizations throughout North America and Europe, announced energy-saving projects for several facilities in recent weeks, including those highlighted below.

United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD)

Ameresco just announced the completion of construction of a comprehensive energy resiliency and energy infrastructure project at the United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island, South Carolina. The $91 million project, which required no upfront capital from MCRD PI, features resilient distributed energy systems designed to withstand potential storm and seismic conditions.

The Marine Corps depends on Parris Island, the only such training facility on the eastern seaboard, to turn approximately 20,000 recruits into Marines each year to support deployment schedules and maintain its operations.  The distributed generation, energy storage, and secure microgrid controls that Ameresco designed and installed are engineered to dramatically enhance the site’s resilience, giving the installation the capacity to sustain its critical training operations when the local grid goes down.

The project is expected to save the installation $6.9 million in annual utility and operational costs, reduce utility energy demand by 75%, and reduce water consumption by 25%.  To achieve these results, Ameresco optimized utility consumption at facilities across the 8,000-acre installation with demand reduction measures.

MCRD PI initiated this energy savings performance contract (ESPC), which leverages private capital through a Department of Energy contract vehicle, in 2015 with the competitive selection of Ameresco.  Ameresco then worked with project stakeholders to replace an aging central plant with a 3.5 megawatt (MW) combined heat and power (CHP) plant and three diesel generators for backup generation. Nearly 20,000 solar modules at carport and ground-mount sites provide 5.5MW of power generation, along with shelter for more than 500 parking spaces for Depot staff and the visiting public.  Ameresco also deployed a 4.0MW/8 MWH battery energy storage system (BESS) and an intelligent microgrid controls to assure power supply in the event of utility failures.

Ameresco says the distributed generation system adds resiliency by providing uninterruptible power in support of critical training operations, delivering a layered defense against threats to the power supply. The company will maintain responsibility for the operation and maintenance of these new energy assets for the duration of the 22-year performance period. To learn more about the Parris Island project, visit the Ameresco website.

Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital

In addition, Ameresco and Sutter Health just announced the completion of a 1.6-megawatt solar energy system at the Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital (SSRRH). The 84-bed acute-care facility is one of 24 hospitals in the Sutter Health network and is known as one of the greenest hospitals in Northern California.

The solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays installed at two sites on the SSRRH campus underscore Sutter Health’s broader commitment to environmental stewardship through the use of renewable energy, setting the Sutter Health Standard for solar. Carport solar panels installed at the hospital’s main parking lot and on the roof of the Bill and Elizabeth Shea House — a private, four-bedroom residence for families of hospitalized children — are expected to generate more than 2.4 million kWh of electricity annually, the equivalent of powering 206 households for one year.

The solar panels installed by Ameresco are projected to offset 40 percent of the hospital’s overall electricity usage and 89 percent of electricity used at the Shea House. As an on-site source of renewable energy, SSRRH will avoid 1,725 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually or the equivalent of 194,021 gallons of gasoline consumed.

In addition to the 1.6 MW solar panel system, Ameresco replaced the hospital’s parking lot lighting fixtures with high-efficiency LEDs. These will generate additional energy cost savings for the hospital over time and create brighter, safer spaces on campus for patients, visitors and employees.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility

Ameresco also recently announced that it has broken ground on a solar array project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility (NASA WFF) in Wallops Island, Virginia. The savings-funded solar renewable energy project will help NASA WFF to meet its ambitious energy-savings and sustainability goals.

Designed to be completed in two phases, the project will meet at least 80% of the site’s electrical consumption once complete. Given its size and scope, the solar installation is expected to reduce the facility’s carbon output by more than 4,310 metric tons per year. This is the equivalent of canceling the CO2 emissions from 2,756 homes’ electricity usage over a one-year period, the company calculates.

The project will include ground-mounted solar panels installed near NASA WFF’s airfield as well as carport-canopy panels.

The project includes $14 million in renewable energy and infrastructure improvements. It 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.

Dave Pierce, Wallops Flight Facility director, remarked:

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. 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.

For more information about Ameresco services and solutions, visit the company’s website.