The U.S. Army’s Fort Bragg in North Carolina will soon be home to the largest floating solar plant in the Southeast – a 1.1 MW system as part of a Utility Energy Service Contract (UESC) awarded to Duke Energy.
The $36 million contract will focus on energy resilience and security at Fort Bragg: infrastructure modernization including lighting and water upgrades, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, and boiler system improvements.
“As a leader in solar energy, we’re excited to bring this unique project to Fort Bragg,” says Melisa Johns, vice president of distributed energy solutions at Duke Energy. “This project takes a comprehensive look at the way energy is being used at Fort Bragg and will lead to more efficient energy use and significant cost savings.”
Ameresco, Duke Energy’s prime contractor, will build the 1.1 MW floating solar PV system on the Big Muddy Lake located at Camp Mackall. Fort Bragg will own and operate the system once construction is completed. Construction is expected to begin in November.
The floating solar installation will be paired with a 2 MW battery energy storage system. The system will supplement power to Fort Bragg from the local grid and provide backup power during electric service outages.
Floating solar power could have a big future. The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) researchers estimate that installing floating solar photovoltaics on the more than 24,000 man-made U.S. reservoirs could generate about 10% of the nation’s annual electricity production. Currently, floating solar makes up only about 1-2% of the world’s solar capacity.
The project is part of Duke Energy’s federal business, which develops and delivers solutions that strengthen infrastructure reliability, operational resilience and energy cost performance. Duke Energy recognizes that federal and military energy infrastructure needs are diverse and uniquely complex.