MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Recycling Cash Turned Into Solar Energy
by Frances Seybold, MCBQ Commstrat
Marilisa Porter, Qualified Recycling Program manager, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Branch at MCBQ, and Jeremy Branch, MCBQ Energy Program manager, teamed up to fund, plan and construct a solar array that will make the recycling center nearly energy net zero, and provide resiliency capability during power outages.
Funds for the project, $100,000, were accrued from recyclable materials collected and processed on base, which include cardboard, paper and scrap metal.
The project placed a 96-panel system with battery backup, capable of producing 35kw of power during solar peak times, and four hours of reserve electricity for basic operations. The electricity created will supply the basic energy needs for the recycling center: lights, heat, air conditioning in a small space, roll-up door and a few outlets throughout the facility.
In the next few years it is hoped that more battery power can be added in order to run the industrial baler and shredder – the workhorses of the recycling operation.
Porter encourages everyone to utilize the bright blue recycling bins for their recyclables, including cardboard, aluminum and metal cans, glass bottles and jars, and plastic bottles. The bins are located at many locations around the installation to include the Marine Mart, 7-Day Store, Crossroads Elementary, recycling center, The Basic School messhall and Natural Resources Environmental Affairs Office (log cabin) on the west side.
Mitch Mitchell, Quantico's energy resource efficiency contractor with Cintel, has worked behind the scenes with the technical details for about one year to make this project a reality.
Mitchell said, “The solar panels are not only stable, they are environmentally friendly."
This is due to the use of butterfly-type anchors drilled into the ground that each withstands 500-1000 pounds of force. There were no trenches dug or concrete footings poured that would be seen in typical construction to hold the solar racking in place.
Mitchell is also proud the actual construction of the solar panels took less than two weeks, being completed March 22.
Porter stated, “The project is a few years in the making and we are excited that it’s finally a reality.”