U.S. Army Fort Bragg utilizing 1-MW Floating Solar array installed atop Lake

June 15, 2022
The entire system built by Duke and Ameresco includes basewide energy efficiency infrastructure upgrades for lighting, water, ventilation, air conditioning and boiler systems.

A new 1.1-MW solar power system floating atop a nearby lake soon will be generating carbon-free electricity for The U.S. Army’s massive Fort Bragg base in North Carolina.

The floating solar array will be accompanied by a 2-MW battery storage system to smooth out intermittencies in the power generation. The project is a part of a $36 million U.S. Army energy services contract with utility Duke Energy and its prime contractor, Ameresco.

Fort Bragg will own and operate the floating solar system, which was built on Big Muddy Lake located to Camp Mackall. The military base is one of the largest in the U.S. with more than 50,000 military personnel and is home to the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Command.

“Duke Energy’s work with Fort Bragg will lead to better energy efficiency and cost savings at the base,” Brian Savoy, Duke Energy’s chief strategy and commercial officer, said in a statement. “We’re excited to help put Fort Bragg at the forefront of renewable energy innovation through this unique floating solar facility.”

The entire system built by Duke and Ameresco includes basewide energy efficiency infrastructure upgrades for lighting, water, ventilation, air conditioning and boiler systems.

“We are grateful for our relationships with Duke Energy and Ameresco,” Col. Scott Pence, garrison commander for Fort Bragg, said in a statement. “With this system, the largest floating solar array in the southeast, we will be able to provide energy resiliency to Fort Bragg operations through sustainable resources.”

The floating solar and battery storage system will supply power to Fort Bragg during electric service outages. The military base also will continuing receiving electricity from the local grid.

The U.S. Army’s Climate Strategy, released in the past year, focuses on an increase in carbon-neutral energy resources and electrification at bases. In addition, the Army plans on installing microgrids at every installation by 2035.

North Carolina is ranked fourth in the nation for overall solar power capacity. Duke Energy owns and operates more than 40 solar facilities in North Carolina – one of which is a 13-MW facility at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Onslow County.

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(Rod Walton, senior editor for EnergyTech, is a 14-year veteran of covering the energy industry both as a newspaper and trade journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]).

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