Bean Federal Center Solar Power Project Creates Jobs, Utility Savings
In the end, the team re-insulated, reinforced, and replaced more than half (about 281,000 square feet) of the Bean Federal Center's roof during the solar power installation project. The project created about 100 jobs and added almost $25 million to the local economy, according to the GSA.
After an on-time delivery of the project, the new solar technologies at the Bean Federal Center have already had a big impact on helping the facility reduce energy consumption and save taxpayer money. The photovoltaic panel system has been in operation since April 29, 2011. The energy bill credit from Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) through February 2012 is $321,000, a number that reflects direct taxpayer savings. The PV system has also reduced peak load during summer months, resulting in savings. In 2011, the savings for June was $60,000; July was $65,000; and August 2011 was $57,000, compared to the previous year.
As the GSA's largest building in the Great Lakes region, the Bean Federal Center was a logical choice to use and test energy-saving solar technology. The facility was recently cited as one of the "100 Recovery Act Projects That Are Changing America" by Vice President Joe Biden.
Robert Stasia is a 30-year construction industry veteran who has been with Gilbane for 14 years. Currently manager of Gilbane's Indianapolis, Ind., district, Stasia served as the project executive on the Maj. Gen. Emmett J. Bean Center project. Stasia can be reached at email@example.com.
Lesson Learned: Loop In The Utility
One critical part of the process of installing a PV array is to make sure the power company is in the loop from the start. That's because, of course, the PV array will need to be tied into the power company's grid. A PV system cannot be tied in to the utility's system until the following agreements have been executed between the owner generating the power and the power company:
- Interconnection Agreement: This agreement is executed between the owner of the power generating system and the power company. This agreement contains specific language and requirements that allows the owner's power equipment to interconnect and operate in parallel with the power company's electric system.
- Power Purchase Agreement: This agreement establishes the rate for REP (Renewable Energy Production). This agreement is between the owner of the equipment that is generating power and the power company. The agreement establishes the rates the power company will pay the facility for energy and capacity.
— Robert Stasia