Major Evaluation Preps CT National Guard for Solar Upgrade

Major Evaluation Preps CT National Guard for Solar Upgrade
Connecticut National Guard Norwich, CT
CDM Smith provided the evaluation of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy opportunities for the Connecticut National Guard, leading to designs for a complete solar upgrade.

In 2021, the Connecticut National Guard sought to increase efficiency and future prepared­ness at its Norwich facility. The existing system had not been signif­i­cantly altered since its original design in 1976. With solar energy production costs falling and the need to increase energy security and readiness for the future, the CT National Guard contracted CDM Smith for a full solar evaluation.

Specif­i­cally, the CT National Guard intends to install a photo­voltaic (PV) solar array of approx­i­mately 150kWDC on the Armory Building Roof at its Norwich Facility. While solar is one of the cleanest energy sources on the planet, emitting zero greenhouse gasses, opti­miza­tion of PV systems is key to their success. These systems require monitoring, inspections, preven­ta­tive maintenance and other demands that can increase O&M costs. The magnitude of energy produced by PV systems is also dependent on weather conditions, requiring site-specific analysis. For these reasons, solar project imple­men­ta­tion requires a multi-disci­pli­nary approach.

CDM Smith provided a preliminary assessment for the instal­la­tion of PV systems on the armory, storage shed and auxiliary building roofs at their Norwich Facility. This included an assessment of existing conditions, funding avail­abil­ity, a rooftop solar PV study, preliminary designs and life cycle cost analysis. 

Through the rooftop PV study, the CDM Smith team verified the maximum feasible capacity of a rooftop-mounted PV system under various orien­ta­tions. CDM Smith performed a desktop analysis and simulation to verify the maximum feasible capacity. The data came from a weather station operated by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), about 2.8 miles away from the Norwich Facility. 

The solar PV array instal­la­tion has been scheduled for 2023, when the roof will be 20-years-old and trending towards the end of its useful life. Since PV Systems typically have a life span between 20-25 years, CDM Smith included the cost for the design of a new roof.

The full CDM Smith solar evaluation included preliminary site plans and electrical one-line diagrams to a sufficient level of detail that would facilitate decisions and support generation of project cost estimates. The team then determined a simple payback term—the number of years when money saved through renovation would cover the investment— for the proposed options based on the estimated power generation. 

The results of facility evaluation and conceptual design have been presented to the CT National Guard to discuss the results and recom­men­da­tion of the study. A final memorandum summarized the engineering analysis, facility require­ments, and included conceptual drawings, energy production estimates, and a cost analysis of maintenance (i.e. CAPEX and OPEX). 

The final construc­tion team will also have direct support from the design engineers, who will be available throughout the entire construc­tion process. The design engineers responsible will assist the field staff in resolving construc­tion conflicts and coor­di­na­tion issues that may arise from the Contractor or the City of Norwich during the construc­tion phase.

The CT National Guard has also requested a solar evaluation for their 16 buildings at Camp Nett in Niantic. 

Matt Goss Matt Goss
By always learning and doing something new, I can better identify solutions to our clients' challenges.
Project Details

Going Solar

CDM Smith’s multi­-dis­ci­plined staff provide a full suite of solar services: 

  • Feasibility studies 
  • Cost/benefit analysis 
  • Permitting 
  • Geot­ech­ni­cal services 
  • Design services 
  • Construc­tion 
  • Equipment Spec­i­fi­ca­tion and Procurement 
  • Design-build 
  • Owner’s repre­sen­ta­tive services 

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