The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has selected Ameresco Inc., an energy efficiency and energy infrastructure company, to build a 2.47 MW solar project at the El Paso Intelligence Center located on Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. The energy savings performance contract (ESPC) was awarded to Ameresco under the ESPC ENABLE program.
“Ameresco applauds the partnership of the El Paso Intelligence Center and the DEA in contracting this onsite solar asset,” says Nicole A. Bulgarino, executive vice president and general manager of federal solutions at Ameresco. “Together, we have successfully executed an innovative project delivery model to construct this solar PV system.”
As Ameresco explains, the ESPC ENABLE program offers a streamlined process for small federal agency projects to leverage third-party-financed energy technologies in six months or less. The company says its contract is also uniquely structured to capture the financial benefits of the solar investment tax credit through an energy sales agreement within the traditional ESPC. Ameresco will finance, build, own and operate the solar system for a period of 20 years under the agreement.
The 2.47 MW project will be comprised of two ground-mount solar PV systems on the site of the El Paso Intelligence Center. Ameresco says the site will benefit from reduced electricity costs, long-term electric pricing stability and reduced carbon emissions. Overall, the ESPC is expected to achieve more than $9.2 million in energy cost savings.
Ameresco will also convert more than 1,400 interior and exterior lighting fixtures to high-efficiency LEDs. The company says the longer-life LEDs will reduce maintenance and replacement costs while providing high-quality illumination and individual office dimming control.
According to Ameresco, the project will be the DEA’s first renewable energy system and first ESPC that will advance agency expertise in renewable energy system installation and integration that can be used by other government facilities. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) has provided technical support for project development, including grant funding through the Assisting Federal Facilities with Energy Conservation Technologies (AFFECT) program.
Ameresco was competitively selected by the DEA in February to develop the project and was awarded the contract in September. The project is currently in construction and expected to be operational by fall 2018. The company notes the building will remain fully occupied during construction and with regular operations.