Make electric power and store it for later – that is a big deal in the future of the electric industry and for consumers. That is because sometimes power is needed when it is tougher to make, like wanting solar power when the sun doesn’t shine or wind power when the wind is quiet.

Fort Bragg in North Carolina will do something about that with the help of a couple energy companies – utility Duke Energy and Ameresco, an energy efficiency company.

Floating solar array in Colorado (Photo: NREL)

“We have been looking for a place for a solar field for some time,” said Audrey Oxendine, chief for energy and utilities at Fort Bragg. “We are landlocked, but we do have a 60 acre lake.” So Audrey proposed the idea.

Solution: A floating solar microgrid.

There will be a 1.1-MW floating solar photovoltaic system on Big Muddy Lake at the military base. “The system also will include a 2-MW battery energy storage system to provide a transition to on-site generation during utility outages.” (Source)

Why do this kind of project? The feeder line to the base from Duke is ten miles long. That could be a concern. “We want to always improve energy security – having reliable energy when and where you need it – and energy resilience – having multiple sources as back-up if needed,” said Audrey.

“With one-tenth of the Army housed at Fort Bragg, including Special Operations, Airborne and Global Response Force forces, it is imperative to provide energy security and improvements to the installation’s utility infrastructure,” said Nicole Bulgarino, Ameresco executive vice president and general manager of federal solutions. (Source)

Planning is underway on the project and construction starts in November.


Feature images from Fort Bragg media resources.