The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has awarded a contract for approximately $20 million to install a solar photovoltaic (PV) system at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding. It will be the largest PV system in New Mexico.
The 3.2 megawatt solar PV system is estimated to produce up to 20 percent of the medical center’s annual electricity usage. The Eaton Corporation will design and install the PV system throughout the site, including car port and roof-mounted arrays, as well as implement a building-integrated system to help reduce demand from the local utility grid.
“The solar energy will be directly converted to usable electricity by being converted from DC to AC by the use of inverters in the system, then tied directly into our electrical distribution system,” said Bob Bruick, energy engineer for the medical center.
Five different areas will be used for solar panel installations, including two roof tops and three parking areas, which will be provided with covered parking canopies with solar panels on top.
Work to finalize the design is expected to begin in a few weeks, with actual installation of panels to start later this summer. Bruick expects the project to be completed in early 2011.
The VA selected the Albuquerque site based on results from feasibility studies to determine the optimal locations for on-site renewable energy projects. The VA’s goal is to increase renewable energy consumption to 15 percent of annual electricity usage by 2013.