solar panels

Nevada National Security Site completes landmark solar installation

solar panels
A view of the new solar array at fire station No. 1.

Completion of a solar array at Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) fire station No. 1 marks the first net-zero energy building within the Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) enterprise.

The installation provides 424 kilowatts DC of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy generation and leverages existing infrastructure to maximize the amount of renewable energy generation to the Site. The project was a collaboration between multiple DOE organizations: the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; NNSA Office of Safety, Infrastructure and Operations; NNSA Nevada Field Office; and NNSS management and operating contractor Mission Support and Test Services, LLC.

The venture is part of the NNSS’ long-term Site modernization and consolidation plans. The Mercury Solar Project is the first grid-tied solar PV installation in the NNSS portfolio. On an annual basis, the solar array is anticipated to produce more electricity than the total consumptive energy use of the fire station, effectively making it the first net-zero energy building at a DOE NNSA site.

“This initial effort to introduce solar at the NNSS lays the groundwork for further integration of sustainable energy technologies and is a foundational element supporting Mercury and NNSS modernization initiatives,” said Jacob Huffines, NNSS support facilities and infrastructure program manager. “It supports the goal of creating enduring, modern and technologically advanced facilities that will enable and support DOE mission activities, and the associated workforce, for decades into the future.”

Excess capacity of the array will be credited toward a new Mercury campus environment, which will begin construction in January 2019. The new modernized Mercury campus buildings are being designed as High Performance Sustainable Buildings with LEED Gold and net-zero energy design criteria. Power generated from the Mercury solar array will enable the first new building within the campus to also be credited as a net-zero energy facility.

The project demonstrates practical application of technologies that can make facilities sustainable and more cost-effective over the long term and provides an example of how to effectively leverage DOE enterprise capabilities in partnership with private and public sector resources.