Fort Detrick adds energy storage to solar installation in support of Army’s resiliency goals


In 2016, Fort Detrick, in Frederick, Maryland, was home to one of the largest solar installations on the East Coast. Soon the original 18.6 MW installation will be supplemented with a 6 MW/h energy storage system. Ameresco owns and operates the plant and has been supplying electricity generated to the US Army under a 25-year power purchase agreement, which at the time was expected to meet around 12% of Fort Detrick’s annual electric demand.

LS Energy Solutions (LS-ES) has contracted with Ameresco to supply the AiON-ESS energy storage system for the solar project to help further lower the garrison’s total electricity spend, achieved through participation in frequency regulation, demand response, and energy supply markets within PJM, a wholesale electricity market. The storage system will be microgrid-ready to support Army’s resiliency goals.

One of the Army’s resiliency goals is to install a microgrid on every installation by 2035. These will include renewable generation and large-scale battery storage, with the goal being able to “self-sustain its critical missions” on all Army installations by 2040. In addition, the Army aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half from its buildings by 2032, compared to 2005. Part of the plan is for light-duty non-tactical vehicles to be all-electric by 2027, and all non-tactical vehicles would be EVs by 2035.

The AiON-ESS Energy Series is for 2- to 6-hour applications. It combines Ameresco’s fourth-generation String Inverter System (SIS) with Tier-1 lithium-ion batteries in a modular format that can be configured for different applications. The energy storage systems are UL9540 approved, indicating that they meet the highest safety standards for energy storage products.

“Our AiON-ESS provides all AC and DC energy storage functions in a single, easy to install and commission unit.  We look forward to deploying more of these systems with Ameresco in similarly critical applications,” said Steve Fludder, CEO of LS Energy Solutions.

The solar installation sits on a 67-acre site and has 59,994 solar panels with nine central inverters and transformers.

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