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VA Distribution Center Boosts Energy Resilience With Solar Grant

•    Includes the first solar enhanced ESPC grant given to a state agency from Virginia Energy
•    Energy and operational upgrades will save $56,400 annually and reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 51%
•    The project will install a 325kW ground-mount solar array and upgrade the metering and electrical functions of the rooftop arrays currently in place

The Virginia Distribution Center (VDC) in Virginia has implemented a comprehensive infrastructure project to significantly expand their energy efficiency program through an energy savings performance contract (ESPC) with Schneider Electric. This project incorporates the first-ever Virginia Department of Energy (Virginia Energy) solar enhanced ESPC grant for a state agency, contributing $500,000 towards the installation of a 325kW ground-mount solar array. Total energy conversation measures will save approximately $56,400 in energy and operational costs annually for the 15-year contract and will reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 51%.

The VDC is responsible for keeping costs low and competitive as they provide materials and equipment to the various Commonwealth of Virginia agencies. As a key agency in the state, the Center recognized the need to upgrade infrastructure to reduce operational and energy costs and improve overall resiliency. Through the implementation of new, standardized LED lighting, HVAC and control systems, the VDC will operate more efficiently and can continue supplying their customers at very competitive price points. In addition, the resilient measures will keep critical systems running and ensure uptime.

While the VDC had an existing rooftop solar array, the ability to meter production data and verify proper electrical functionality was not available This project will both improve and combine existing assets with a new 325kW ground mount solar array. The ground mount array is partially funded by the landmark $500,000 Virginia Energy grant, a first for a State Agency in Virginia and a model of how these grants can be applied to state agencies. The new measures will vastly increase the sustainability and resilience of the facility and allow the VDC to access solar PV through new metering.

"The addition of a solar array will increase energy cost savings for the Virginia Distribution Center by replacing utility power supplied to the meter and compliments our very successful Energy Performance Contracting program (EPC) which reduces consumption through facility efficiency upgrades," said Virginia Energy Director John Warren. "We applaud the Virginia Distribution Center for being the first state agency to take advantage of Virginia Energy's EPC Solar Support initiative, building on the $1 billion in energy savings the EPC program has already brought to our Commonwealth." 

The project goes beyond renewables to tackle interior and exterior upgrades that will reduce costs, streamline operations and improve occupant comfort:

  • LED lighting improvements in both administrative and warehouse areas in addition to exterior and flagpole lighting
  • Standardized lighting fixtures and coloring to provide consistency and reduce maintenance
  • Building envelope improvements to reduce air infiltration and increase comfort in spaces
  • Off-peak battery storage for material handling equipment
  • Programmable thermostats and boiler hot water reset and pump controls to increase efficiency

“We went beyond VDC’s initial need to upgrade lighting and improve the existing solar by adding six additional energy efficiency and resiliency measures,” said Barry Wilhelm, Schneider Electric Team Leader. “These additional measures allow for more efficient operation and provides certain systems with guaranteed uptime, reducing the risk of equipment not being available to support the mission. We’re also proud to help the Commonwealth of Virginia meet its 42% SWAM goals through this project.”

Schneider Electric, ranked the #1 ESCO by Guidehouse Insights, has been a long-time partner of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Over twenty years, Schneider Electric has implemented 60 projects that have saved $165M and is proud to have been a contributor to Virginia’s recent milestone of $1B in energy savings.

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