USA — Solar power to energize Detroit Arsenal

WARREN, Mich. — The first solar-pow­ered micro­grid to pro­vide ener­gy to an Army instal­la­tion is sched­uled to be oper­a­tional this spring. U.S. Army engi­neers will install the sys­tem at Detroit Arse­nal.

The U.S. Army Tank Auto­mo­tive Research, Devel­op­ment and Engi­neer­ing Cen­ter will soon have a solar-pow­ered micro­grid to sup­ply elec­tric­i­ty to two lab­o­ra­to­ries and to pow­er the Detroit Arse­nal park­ing lot lights. This pho­to shows sim­i­lar solar pan­els being installed at the Space and Naval War­fare Sys­tems Com­mand in San Diego.
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“Smart micro­grids are at the heart of what we’re doing to address ener­gy secu­ri­ty,” said Dorothy Robyn, deputy under­sec­re­tary of defense for Instal­la­tions and Environment. 

“It allows us to be more ener­gy effi­cient on a day-to-day basis. It facil­i­tates the adop­tion of renew­able tech­nol­o­gy, and most impor­tant, if the [instal­la­tion] grid is dis­rupt­ed, it allows us to con­tin­ue to oper­ate crit­i­cal func­tions,” Robyn said. 

Engi­neers from the U.S. Army Tank Auto­mo­tive Research, Devel­op­ment and Engi­neer­ing Cen­ter, or TARDEC, will install the self-con­tained sys­tem of elec­tri­cal gen­er­a­tion that will use fuel cells, wind, solar and oth­er ener­gy sources said elec­tri­cal engi­neer Jil­lian McDon­ald, who is lead­ing the project. 

“If we had a pow­er out­age, as TARDEC did over the Fourth of July week­end [in 2011], those [labs sup­port­ed] would still be able to oper­ate,” McDon­ald said. 

The micro­grid will pow­er two Sys­tem Inte­gra­tion Lab­o­ra­to­ries and lights for the the arsenal’s park­ing lot. Depend­ing on instal­la­tion ener­gy demands, the micro­grid could pro­vide addi­tion­al pow­er to arse­nal users. 

“We did a pow­er study and it looks as if the [labs] actu­al­ly are less of a load than we thought, so we might be able to pow­er more of [the build­ing that hous­es the labs],” McDon­ald said. 

Two oth­er sus­tain­abil­i­ty efforts includ­ed in this project will allow the bi-direc­tion­al flow of ener­gy. A 5 kilo­watt mobile solar gen­er­a­tor and charg­ing sta­tion will be installed for a Smart Plug-in Hybrid-Elec­tric Vehi­cle in addi­tion to a 100 kilo­watt Tac­ti­cal Mobile Vehi­cle Charg­ing Sys­tem. This charg­ing sta­tion will be used to charge up to four elec­tric vehi­cles with­out requir­ing con­nec­tion to the instal­la­tion grid. 

U.S. Army 

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