See how solar plus an energy retrofit will help this county get near net-zero energy — at no cost to taxpayers

by Brianna Crandall — December 18, 2019 — National construction and energy services firm McKinstry was awarded several contracts in recent months to install solar arrays and perform other energy retrofit projects, including for the City of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, the University of Northern Colorado (UNC), and Howard County, Arkansas, which is highlighted below.

Howard County, AR

Howard County is partnering with McKinstry to deliver energy-saving upgrades and replacements to critical systems at county facilities, including the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system at the county courthouse building. The McKinstry project is expected to save taxpayers more than $51,000 in annual energy costs and more than $23,000 in annual operations costs, and to get the County near net-zero energy.

The centerpiece of the energy project is a new 240-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) array, projected to significantly reduce energy costs and provide the county with a reliable source of power outside of its current reliance on the electrical grid. The solar array will provide the county with nearly 100 percent of its annual energy consumption.

The project is part of an energy performance contract designed by McKinstry to help Howard County improve energy efficiency, upgrade critical equipment approaching the end of its useful life, reduce maintenance costs, and avoid catastrophic failure caused by unplanned shutdowns.

Howard County Judge Kevin Smith admitted:

A solar array is something I might never have considered if not recommended by McKinstry. I commend them for finding a way to introduce a renewable energy source that above all else provides real cost savings, which allow the county to pay for critical maintenance and upgrades with zero cost burden for taxpayers. This project will have a profound impact on our county courthouse and several other key county facilities for years to come.

This project comes on the heels of McKinstry launching a national Renewable Energy Services team to expand its focus on renewables and ensure clients like Howard County receive the market’s most comprehensive energy solutions.

Michael Grabham, McKinstry’s regional vice president of energy and technical services, stated:

The near net-zero sizing of this PV array demonstrates that solar energy increasingly makes smart financial sense for a broader range of geographies and project types. McKinstry is helping Howard County and a wide range of other communities and organizations engineer projects that pay strong financial dividends for years to come while also incorporating sustainable, renewable energy benefits.

Installation of the Howard County solar PV array and energy retrofits projects is currently underway, with an anticipated December 2019 completion date. No county operations are expected to be impacted during construction.

McKinstry designs, constructs, operates and maintains high-performing buildings. From new construction and ongoing operations to adaptive reuse and energy retrofits, the company provides a single point of accountability across the entire building lifecycle.