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Floating solar array: New system is the first of its kind for DoD and the largest in the Southeast United States

By Savanah Ramsey, posted Jun 22, 2022 on

The solar array will power close to 735 homes and last up to 35-40 years. PHOTOS BY SAVANAH RAMSEY

On Friday, June 10, Army leaders, executives from Duke Energy and Ameresco gathered at Fort Bragg’s Camp Mackall for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new floating solar array.

“Duke Energy is the first door into Fort Bragg as it is one of our marquee customers along with many military bases in the region,” stated Brain Savoy, chief commercial officer for Duke Energy.
Duke Energy has been working with Fort Bragg and provided re- sources on how the area can be more resilient with energy. Throughout the last couple of years, the company has completed several projects across the Southeast that resemble the one at Camp Mackall.
“With this opportunity and the water source in Camp Mckall, we thought, you know, let's be innovative. Let’s think about how to use this in a way that doesn’t disrupt the environment and allows clean energy in the area,” added Savoy.
Savoy went on to explain that North Carolina has become a leader in solar energy, and that Duke Energy is looking at every opportunity to advance the solar footprint in the state to drive cleaner forms of energy while taking into account the communities they will be located in. 

Not only will this benefit the local bases and local families in the area, but it will also help surrounding businesses.

“When carbon-free energy expands for a region, it opens eyes to businesses. They say, ‘We can do that too!’ and then maybe they use their rooftops or warehouses as a place for solar. I think this is a great way to open the door for other opportunities with businesses,” said Savoy.

The array is first of its kind in the Department of Defense and the largest floating system in the Southeast United States. The 1.1 megawatt floating solar system is located on Big Muddy Lake in the heart of Camp Mackall and includes a 2-MW/2 megawatt-hour battery energy storage system.
With the amount of energy being produced with the panels on Big Muddy Lake, it will power close to 735 homes and last up to 35-40 years.
With the system operating it will provide carbon-free energy, supplemental power to the local grid, and backup power for Camp Mackall during electricity outages.
The event began with the playing of the national anthem before following with introductions to speakers.

“We are grateful for our relationship with Duke Energy and Ameresco,” said Colonel Scott Pence, garrison commander for Fort Bragg. “With this system, the largest 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 renew- able electricity, but energy security that will be critical with continuing
the installation’s mission during a power outage.”
This project will directly support the Army’s mission to enhance readiness, save energy, leverage resources and reduce long-term operating costs.
“This project is an excellent example of what the Army is trying to achieve as stated in the Army Climate Strategy and the Army’s Energy and Water Strategic Plan,” said Honorable Rachel Jacobson, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment. “It provides carbon-free electricity and supports the Army’s efforts to increase reliance on clean energy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. When we collaborate with utilities and industry to promote energy resilience while powering the local grid, it is a winning solution across the board.”

The event finished with the celebration cutting a ribbon to signal the official “opening” and use of the array solar panels, followed by refreshments.

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