Ohio National Guard Camp Perry goes Nanosolar

Details on the Camp Perry 538 kWp (kiloWatt-peak) photovoltaic (PV) installation near Port Clinton, Ohio USA.
The Camp Perry Solar Project cost $2.419 Million or almost $4.50 per Watt and features Ohio PV balance of systems innovations.


When I first saw “Nanosolar Utility Panels Utilized in Ohio National Guard Camp Perry Solar Installation”, I sensed an opportunity to profile the project without any help from Nanosolar, Inc.

My persistence and patience was rewarded when the Ohio National Guard answered key questions about the Camp Perry solar project. The cost of the 538 kW PV project was $2.419 Million and is owned by the Army National Guard. The solar array is grid connected though Camp Perry will consume all the electricity produced and will not benefit from net metering.

Camp Perry is part of the Army National Guard’s effort to achieve the Department of Defense’s (DoD) strategic goal to improve energy security and reduce long term energy costs at military installations. In addition, “DoD requires rapid and effective deployment of new clean, secure, low-carbon energy technologies” to meet the goals of Executive Order 13514 (EO13514), Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, and the earlier Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005).

Rudolph/Libbe, Inc.
While the press release quotes Romanoff Electric, I understand
Rudolph/Libbe Inc. was the prime contractor for the Ohio National Guard Camp Perry solar project after winning a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) executed through the Army National Guard’s MATOC (Multiple Award Task Order Contracting) process. The Army National Guard made the decision to use Nanosolar Utility Panels.

The 538 kW ground mount solar array used just over 3 acres (1.21 hectares) of underused land tucked in the corner of an existing Camp Perry shotgun range. Of course, shooting is done in the opposite direction away from the array.

The Camp Perry solar project has 2690 (versus the 2750 mentioned) of the 200 Watt Nanosolar Utility Panels. Each of the 200 Watt Nanosolar Utility Panels has eighty-four (84) CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide) solar cells and a module efficiency of 9.99%.

AP Alternatives
Construction on the Camp Perry solar project site required three (3) months and was accelerated by preloading the Utility Panels into the prefabricated, modular
APA GROUND MOUNT (NANO SOLAR) racking system at the AP Alternatives manufacturing site in Ridgeville Corners, Ohio USA. The ground mount array is arranged in rows with up to 136 interlocking racks oriented at a 20 degree angle to the sun.

Nanosolar said: “AP Alternatives’ pre-assembly enables a more quick and cost-effective installation with far less panel breakage than with traditional mounting systems.” The comment on panel breakage is noteworthy considering my observations in the Nanosolar 1.1 MegaWatt-peak Photovoltaic Plant Visit post.

As mentioned in Solar Light Flashes: SPI 2011 Edition, AP Alternatives has upgraded the APA GROUND MOUNT (NANO SOLAR) racking system to support three (3) Utility Panels instead of the two (2) used at Camp Perry to lower overall system installation costs.

Nextronex, Inc.
Nextronex supplied four (4) Ray-Max 150 Inverters and a Load Center transformer for the high side voltage requirement to the Camp Perry installation per “Nextronex, Inc. Announces 2 MW Project in Bryan, OH & Start-up of 600 kW Project at Camp Perry, OH”. The Ray-Max 150 (datasheet) is a 150 kW transformerless inverter operating with string voltages up to 1000 VDC (Volts Direct Current). Nextronex was the first US produced transformerless inverter to receive a UL listing for 1000 VDC applications as profiled last year in “Exclusive: PV in the USA, Part III—Nextronex joins solar power system optimization conversation” by Tom Cheyney at PV-Tech.org.

From another source, I heard the Camp Perry installation leverages the 1000 VDC capability with the Nanosolar Utility Panel strings. Nanosolar claims the Utility Panel has a maximum system voltage rating of 1500 VDC.

However, the Camp Perry solar project did not utilize the Nextronex distributed architecture Smart Controller and Power Strips to optimize energy yield. Nextronex said prior installation experience and the online SE Harvesting model estimated about 7% more energy could have been generated at the Camp Perry site had the complete Ray-Max System been installed.

Nextronex Chairman and CEO Bruce Larsen said:

We have recently begun to market our technology on a national basis and are aggressively seeking our first California installation.

This is the third recent Nanosolar post on the Blog. Must be a trend.

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