The Kentucky National Guard goes green

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 16, 2010

CONTACT: David Altom, 502-607-1562, cell 502-229-3227

These solar panels on a barracks building of the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center are part of a system expected to produce approximately 100,000 kilowatt hours of renewable green energy annually, bringing an annual reduction of approximately $40,000 to $60,000 in operating expenses. (Kentucky National Guard photograph)

GREENVILLE, Ky. (Feb. 17, 2010) – The Kentucky National Guard just went a little greener with the help of its partners in state government and the private sector.

Crews have just completed an installation of solar panels at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Muhlenberg County. This state of the art 10,000 acre training facility for the Kentucky National Guard will be partially powered by the 84 kilowatt photovoltaic solar arrays found on the administration building and two of the center’s barracks.

The 400 solar panels on the three buildings are “grid-tied,” meaning that the power produced will first be used by electrical loads within the facility. Any excess power produced will flow back onto the grid, running the facility power meter backward and creating a credit. The net effect of the system will be to reduce the cost of electricity for the facility.

“I want to commend the Kentucky National Guard for their stewardship of the land as well as the taxpayer’s dollars,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “This new solar installation is a significant step toward providing a quality training facility for our troops while relieving the financial burden for the state.”

This initiative was driven by Kentucky’s Comprehensive Energy Plan released by Governor Beshear and Presidential Executive Orders EO 13423 and EO 13514. Both the state and federal and directives strive for a greener environment and reduced CO2 emissions through the utilization of renewable energy sources such as solar.

“The Kentucky Guard and the Department of Military Affairs continue to implement energy projects that include geothermal, solar and high-efficiency energy upgrades,” said Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, adjutant general for Kentucky. “This is a great opportunity for the Kentucky Guard and we intend to meet Governor Beshear’s mandate as expeditiously as possible.”

The project was completed in association with Finance and Administration Cabinet through the utilization of $553,499 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds.

“This large scale renewable energy project is an excellent application of ARRA funding and the Recovery Act’s objective to implement energy conservation measures in publicly owned buildings,” said Jonathan Miller, secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet. “It is very appropriate to have installed state of the art solar panels that will help protect our environment at a training facility for the Kentucky National Guard as the Guard so often protects our citizens in times of natural disasters and emergencies.”

One of the largest solar installations in Kentucky, the system is capable of producing approximately 100,000 kilowatt hours of renewable green energy annually. Reductions in green-house emissions by 79.2 tons are expected, equivalent to the CO2 emissions from 8,078 gallons of gas consumed or the amount of carbon sequestered by the planting of 1,841 tree seedlings grown for 10 years. The subsequent reduction in commercial power, potential flow back credits to the utility companies and the sale of sustainable/renewable energy credits on the open market should reduce the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center’s annual utility expense by $40,000 to $60,000 or more.

“We were quite pleased to receive the bid on this project for the Kentucky National Guard,” said Geoff Greenfield, owner and president of Third Sun. “Installing the largest solar power system in Kentucky is a great chance for Third Sun and the Kentucky National Guard to show that solar really works in this part of the country and offers great costs savings benefits to the owners of the system.”

The project was designed by Kentucky-based CMTA Consulting Engineers, the 2009 recipient of the Governor’s Energy Leadership Award.

The panels were manufactured by Evergreen Solar out of Devens, Mass.

Third Sun Solar and Wind Power was the design-build contractor specializing in solar power systems. The firm provides system design, service and installation of solar and wind electric systems. Third Sun is proud to employ four NABCEP Certified Solar PV Installers (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, the industry’s highest standard for installers.)

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