Johnson Controls wins $16M DOD solar energy contract at Fort Bliss

The Defense Department’s biggest military facility, Fort Bliss, is undergoing the largest expansion of any military installation since World War II.

To meet the demands of that expansion, Johnson Controls Inc. has won a $15.9 million Army contract for a solar energy installation and other energy efficiency improvements at the 1.2 million acre-base in West Texas and New Mexico.

The project, executed through the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center in Huntsville, Ala., is expected to save Fort Bliss $39 million in energy costs over the next 24 years, according to a Jan. 3 announcement from Johnson Controls.

The energy efficiency improvements will be installed with no up-front costs to the government. The cost of the improvements will be paid for over time with energy costs saved on utility bills, the announcement said.

Johnson Controls, of Milwaukee, Wisc., will guarantee the energy savings.

The project calls for the Army to purchase the renewable energy produced by 5,500 solar panels without owning or maintaining the equipment.

In addition to the solar energy installation, the project will include new utility monitoring and control IT systems to manage energy at 120 buildings, a program to reduce electricity use during peak demand periods, and other improvements to make Fort Bliss more energy efficient.

Together, these measures are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 1,280 vehicles from the road annually or planting 1,400 acres of pine forest each year, the statement said.

Fort Bliss is the first to respond to President Barack Obama's directive to federal agencies to make $2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next two years using Energy Savings Performance Contracting.

This also is the first Army project to take advantage of a federal renewable energy tax credit, which totaled $1.87 million.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

Reader Comments

Thu, Jan 5, 2012 Andy Bochman Boston

Thanks for the article. I'd like to know if the solar panels will be configured so that the base can use the power they generate even in situations where the local grid is experiencing an outage. Any way to find that out?

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