As part of the Army Net Zero Energy Installation initiative, the U.S. Army has partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to help put nine bases on the path to producing as much on-site renewable energy as they use. The most recent report shows that if all of the pilot site bases are able to achieve net zero energy status, it will replace approximately 8% of the Army portfolio's total energy use with electricity from renewable sources such as solar. So far, the nine pilot bases have demonstrated a 25% reduction in energy consumption. NREL notes that if all bases were to achieve this level of efficiency, the Army could save up to $300 million in annual energy costs.
To help support the initiative, NREL performed energy assessments for each individual location, with a focus on projects that can reduce demand and strategies that help renewable energy sources shoulder the remaining amount of necessary power. Also considered within the analysis were the specifics of each system’s infrastructure, interconnection solutions, microgrid potential, and the necessary financing.
Six of the nine pilot bases have full net zero energy plans, with the three remaining sites testing and experimenting with other energy reduction initiatives. All nine locations include solar photovoltaic installations and eight use some form of solar hot water system. Other renewable energy initiatives being installed include wind turbines, solar ventilation preheating, ground source heat pump, biomass, and geothermal.