Solar panels to reduce garrison costs

Installing solar electric panels on the roof of a Directorate of Public Works building on Kelley Barracks is estimated to help save U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart more than $36,000 per year.

The project represents the garrison’s ongoing efforts to optimize efficiency, conserve natural resources and reduce dependency on non-renewable energy sources, according to Werner Kienzle, USAG Stuttgart DPW energy manager.

The solar panels being installed on the roof of the Kelley Barracks building — along with inverters, transformers, switchgears and electric metering equipment — absorb the sun’s light and produce electricity, according to Kienzle.

The created electrical power of the solar panels, the result of which is a reduction in energy consumption, should save considerable money — particularly in the high-demand summer months, Kienzle explained.

Fittingly, construction on the Energy Conservation Investment Project at Building 3318 began Oct. 4 during national Energy Awareness Month. The work will be complete in November.

“It’s the first time we’re retrofitting solar electric panels on an existing building,” DPW Deputy Director Jim Grady said of the Kelley Barracks project. “As we renovate buildings, we’re making them more energy efficient. We’ll do more in the future.”
This year’s Army theme for Energy Awareness Month was “Empowering Defense through Energy Security.”  The Installation Management Command’s 2010-2017 Installation Management Campaign Plan includes six areas, or “lines of effort,” of which one is energy efficiency and security.

Developed in support of the Army Energy Security Implementation Strategy, the energy efficiency and security line of effort’s keys to success are reducing energy and water consumption, increasing energy and water efficiency, modernizing infrastructure, and developing renewable and alternative energy supplies.

USAG Stuttgart has a number of energy-saving projects in various stages of development, Grady said. Currently under design is the replacement of old, leaking pipes of the district heat distribution lines on Panzer Kaserne. Work on that project will likely begin in summer 2011, Grady said.

The garrison is also looking at replacing street lights with new, more efficient LED lights in the next year, with the goal of gradually replacing them all over time, Grady said. A test project of replacing light bulbs with LED lighting in selected office buildings — the largest of which is building 2915 on Panzer Kaserne — is also under way, he said.

LED lights, which are more efficient than conventional incandescent or fluorescent lighting, last much longer and reduce maintenance costs.

Additionally, work is being done on metering to track utility usage in different buildings, Grady said.

The DPW building isn’t the only one on Kelley Barracks expected to go a long way in helping the garrison meet its energy goals. The Kelley Child Development Center, which opened in August 2010, has solar panels on the roof, double-paned windows, well-insulated exterior walls and energy-saving light bulbs throughout, according to Kienzle.