Fort Bragg Gets Floating Solar Plant

Floating Solar

(Credit: Duke Energy)

by | Jun 13, 2022

Floating Solar

(Credit: Duke Energy)

A floating solar power plant is being installed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

The 1.1-megawatt facility is on Big Muddy Lake at Camp Mackall. It is part of a $36 million contract that is improving energy resilience, modernizing infrastructure, as well as upgrading water, lighting and HVAC systems at the Army base.

The energy service contract is with Duke Energy and contractor Ameresco. Fort Bragg will own and operate the floating solar system, which the organizations say is the largest in the Southeastern United States.

Floating solar is a growing way of implementing renewable energy projects. Floating solar farms have been around for more than a decade, according to Popular Science, but just 2% of new solar installations are on water.

The Popular Science report says floating solar can be up to 15% more efficient than land-based systems. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory deploying floating solar on some of the US’s 24,000 man-made reservoirs could generate up to 10% of the country’s yearly electricity.

A report by Global Industry Analysts says the floating solar market could reach a capacity of 4.8 gigawatts by 2026. That is a CAGR of nearly 34% through the forecast period.

The floating solar installation at Fort Bragg is being paired with a 2-megawatt battery storage system. The energy storage system will supply power to Fort Bragg from the local gride in the event of electric outages.

The energy project at the installation in North Carolina is one of many ongoing throughout the United States military. Fort Detrick in Maryland is installing 6 megawatts of energy storage, a project Ameresco is also involved with, as part of the Army’s climate strategy.

Duke Energy also operates more than 40 solar facilities in North Carolina, including a 13-megawatt plant at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Fort Bragg has the largest US military installation population with more than 270,000 people living and working there.

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