Community members may have wilted in the uncharacteristic heat wave this summer, but the weather was ideal for the new photovoltaic cells on top of one of Clay Kaserne’s parking garages.
“We’re talking about perfect conditions,” said Klaus Hahn, construction chief for U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden’s Directorate of Public Works, Engineering Division, in reference to the long, bright summer days.
While the panels won’t produce as much energy in the shorter winter months, in just their first month of operation, they generated enough energy to power 20 homes in Newman Village for a year, said Tomasz Filatow, USAG Wiesbaden’s energy manager.
The approximately 1,600 panels will generate about 440,000 kilowatt hours of power annually.
As an example, Filatow said, a household with two parents and two children uses an average of 4,000 kilowatt hours per year, so the new panels will produce enough energy to power 110 homes for a year. That will equate to an $80,000 annual saving on the post’s electric bill.
While the cells produce enough to power multiple homes, the energy is actually being channeled to buildings surrounding the garage. The project is just one of many across the garrison to support the Army and Installation Management Command’s energy and sustainability strategy, which focuses on creating energy resilience and security. This includes the ability to continue the mission during power disruptions.
Other projects underway include the retrofitting of approximately 6,000 light fixtures in 20 buildings to LED, and a new co-generation plant and boilers at McCully Barracks.
With the new light fixtures, DPW’s Operations and Maintenance Division will be out of the light-bulb-changing business for about 10 years in the retrofitted buildings, and all of the upcoming projects will provide overall energy savings, Filatow said. Projects, in various stages, are also planned to add more photovoltaic cells across post. The projects will be smaller, individually, than the parking garage, Filatow said, but overall will include almost twice as many panels.
The parking garage project, which began in February 2017 with background work such as running lines to the transformer station, wrapped up this July. Parking on the top level of the garage was off-limits for three months while the panels went up; however, now that it’s reopened, there’s added benefit.
“Now when you park on the upper level you can park in the shade,” Hahn said.
To learn more about the Army’s energy and environmental efforts, visit www.army.mil/asaiee.