The Southeast’s largest floating solar plant will be producing power soon at the U.S. Army’s Fort Bragg in North Carolina after a major utility energy service contract with Duke Energy and its prime contractor Ameresco.
The 1.1-megawatt solar facility is part of a $36 million contract that focused on energy resilience and security at Fort Bragg, including infrastructure modernization, lighting and water upgrades, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, and boiler system improvements.
“Duke Energy’s work with Fort Bragg will lead to better energy efficiency and cost savings at the base,” said Brian Savoy, Duke Energy’s chief strategy and commercial officer. “We’re excited to help put Fort Bragg at the forefront of renewable energy innovation through this unique floating solar facility.”
The floating solar system was built on the Big Muddy Lake located at Camp Mackall. Fort Bragg will own and operate the solar system.
“We are grateful for our relationship with Duke Energy and Ameresco,” said Col. Scott Pence, garrison commander for Fort Bragg. “With this system, the largest floating solar array in the Southeast, we will be able to provide energy resiliency to Fort Bragg operations through sustainable resources. With this partnership, Fort Bragg not only has renewable electricity, but energy security that will be critical with continuing the installation’s mission during a power outage.”
“The opportunity to implement this innovative use of clean energy technology for a military base as notable as Fort Bragg was one that our Federal Solutions team was thrilled to lead on,” said Nicole Bulgarino, Ameresco executive vice president and general manager of Federal Solutions. “The completed floating solar system – still an underutilized technology in the U.S. – will assure the Army’s mission with clean energy. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Duke Energy and Fort Bragg, working to identify additional state-of-the-art opportunities to reduce the installation’s energy consumption and strengthen its resilience.”
The floating solar installation is being paired with a 2-MW battery energy storage system. The system will supply power to Fort Bragg from the local grid and provide power during electric service outages.
“This project fulfills the commitment made in our Army Climate Strategy to increase resilience while delivering clean energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said the Honorable Rachel Jacobson, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment. “When we collaborate with local utilities and industry to promote energy resilience while powering the local grid, it is a winning solution across the board.”
Floating solar is expected to grow quickly over the next decade. Currently, only 2% of new solar installations are on water. But the nation has more than 24,000 human-made bodies of water that could be useful for floating solar development.
North Carolina and Duke Energy are leaders in solar energy. The state is fourth in the nation for overall solar power capacity. Duke Energy owns and operates more than 40 solar facilities in North Carolina – one of which is a 13-MW facility at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Onslow County.