Ameresco announced the completion of a 2.5-MW solar energy system for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at the El Paso Intelligence Center located on Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. Ameresco and DEA officials celebrated the new ground-mounted solar facility at a ceremonial “flip the switch” event this week.
“Ameresco applauds the leadership and vision of the DEA and the El Paso Intelligence Center as we celebrate the operation of this new solar system,” said Nicole A. Bulgarino, executive VP and general manager, Federal Solutions, Ameresco. “We are proud to be a partner to the DEA on the agency’s first renewable energy system.”
The 2.5-MW solar system is comprised of two ground-mount solar PV arrays on the site of the El Paso Intelligence Center. More than 7,340 solar panels were installed during 9,000 hours of project construction.
The solar facility will reduce electricity costs, provide long-term electric pricing stability, and will reduce carbon emissions of more than 3,400 metric tons annually. Ameresco will own and operate the solar system for a period of 20 years providing electricity to the DEA.
The DEA contracted with Ameresco in September 2017 under an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) through the U.S. Department of Energy’s ESPC ENABLE program. The contract with Ameresco was uniquely structured to capture the financial benefits of the solar investment tax credit through an energy sales agreement within the traditional ESPC.
Overall, the ESPC is expected to achieve more than $9.2 million in energy cost savings. As part of the energy project, Ameresco also converted more than 1,400 interior and exterior lighting fixtures to high-efficiency LEDs. The longer life LEDs will reduce maintenance and replacement costs while providing high-quality illumination and individual office dimming control.
The solar system is the DEA’s first renewable energy system and first ESPC that will advance agency expertise in renewable energy system installation and integration that can be used by other government facilities. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provided technical support for project development, including grant funding through the Assisting Federal Facilities with Energy Conservation Technologies (AFFECT) program.
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