New photovoltaic solar panels bring more renewable energy to Del. Air National Guard


NEW CASTLE – A renewable energy milestone will be reached this week at the Delaware Air National Guard base when a three facility photovoltaic solar system used to produce electricity goes online.

Thursday morning Oct. 22 at 9:30 a.m., Delaware Air Guard leaders will join base civil engineers and the contractors that performed the installation to ceremoniously activate the three large photovoltaic solar installations to begin producing electricity from the sun.

This is the first photovoltaic solar system in the Delaware Air National Guard, the first on a U.S. military facility in Delaware, to include Dover Air Force Base, and one of the largest photovoltaic systems of any kind in Delaware.

This milestone coincides with the messages being communicated to personnel throughout the Air Force about conserving energy and natural resources and saving taxpayer money throughout October, U.S. Air Force Energy Awareness Month.

Subject matter experts available to discuss the installation include representatives of kW Solar Solutions of Newark, Del., who performed the installation in partnership with prime contractor Dayenesi, L.L.C., who will also be represented, along with a representative of Paul A. Nickle, Inc., another local company from Newark, Del. that performed all major electrical work.

Media will be given roof-top access to at least one of the systems, and all systems can be photographed. The panels are installed on the roofs of three facilities; the Base Fire House, the Squadron Operations building and the Medical Group building. Together they will generate 141 kilowatts of electricity (141.62 kW, to be exact).

The total cost for the photovoltaic system equipment and installation is slightly over $1,107,000, with $720,000 of that total figure paid for by the federal government. The state’s Delaware Green Energy Fund Grant pays the remaining balance of about $387,000, which represents 35 percent of the total cost.

Payback for the financial investment in each photovoltaic system installed is estimated to be approximately 12 years.

The installation uses the 305 Solar Panel built by SunPower Corporation of San Jose, Calif.,, rated to produce 305 watts per panel at 18.7 percent efficiency. SunPower’s high-efficiency solar panels powered the top three teams at the 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, held October 8-16 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and were selected by seven of the 20 teams competing in the Solar Decathlon.

At those times during the day when the solar electricity generated by each building’s solar array is greater than that specific building’s usage, the extra power will be returned to the air base grid to power other on-base facilities.

The primary use of the PV system is peak load shedding to reduce electrical consumption; the PV system is battery-less (not a backup system) and turns itself off if the utility-supplied power is interrupted and the backup generator turns on.

The projected annual carbon offsets created by the photovoltaic solar system equal 463,248 pounds of carbon dioxide.

“We are excited to bring online this brand new photovoltaic solar system for the Delaware Air National Guard. It is an example of our base civil engineer squadron exhibiting leadership and innovation to meet and exceed federal standards for renewable energy use, and timely support from the federal government and the state government. We will continue to implement energy saving and renewable energy features for both existing facilities and on new buildings under construction and planned,” said Brig. Gen. Hugh Broomall, Deputy Adjutant General for Air, Delaware National Guard.

The air base has several existing innovative renewable energy systems to include a large outdoor solar lighting system and a geothermal heating and cooling system, and employs energy conservation measures such as white roofs to reduce heat gain as well as lighting controls. Geothermal heating and cooling systems are currently being installed on two other projects now under construction; a new hangar, and a new Network Warfare Squadron facility.


Base Fire House:

1. System Size, Solar Kilowatts (kW) = 59 (58.56 kW)

2. Solar Generation = 43% (approx.) of needed facility power needs

3. Number of panels = 192

Squadron Operations:

1. System Size, Solar Kilowatts (kW) = 57 (56.73 kW)

2. Solar Generation = 27% (approx.) of needed facility power needs

3. Number of panels = 186

Medical Building:

1. System Size, Solar Kilowatts (kW) = 26 (25.62 kW)

2. Solar Generation = 25% (approx.) of needed facility power needs

3. Number of panels = 84

Base wide summary:

Total number of panels = 462; total distributed system size = 141 (140.91 kW)

Event is open to news media, not the general public. Media must present driver’s license, and proof of vehicle registration.

Directions: From I-95 take exit for New Castle. At this point you are only a couple of minutes from the base entrance. You will merge onto Basin Road; at second traffic light turn Right on Commons Boulevard; follow signs for U.S. Air Force, Delaware Air National Guard. Address for GPS/mapping: 2600 Spruance Drive, New Castle, DE 19720

The Delaware Air National Guard was founded in 1946 and is a reserve component of the U.S. Air Force with 1,100 positions under Command of the Governor of Delaware, or the President of the United States when mobilized.

This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.