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Integrating Solar Power with Thermal Storage at the Thomas E. Creek VA Medical Center

Abstract

The Engineering Service Section at the Thomas E. Creek Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center constructed a renewable energy project for solar photovoltaic (PV) covered parking.  This innovative PV system is significant since it was the first PV project in the VA specifically designed to be used in conjunction with an ice thermal storage system.  Integrating PV renewable energy with thermal storage load shifting has made Thomas E. Creek the first VA Medical Center to export PV energy back to the local utility during peak solar generation.  The PV system is rated at 2,289 kilowatts and is designed to generate 3,641,130 kilowatt-hours of energy annually.  It avoids 2,570 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year and subsidizes the center’s commercial power approximately 30 percent.  It has clear quality-of-life features such as keeping vehicles cooler during summer and protecting them from rain, snow, and hail.  The medical center negotiated renewable energy rebates with the local utility provider totaling $400,305.  This synergy of solar PV and thermal storage helped set the standard for integrating diverse types of sustainable energy within the VA and led the way for similar integrated systems at other VA Medical Centers.

Presented By

Mr. Samuel E. Hagins, E.I.T., C.E.M.
Energy Engineer
Thomas E. Creek VA Medical Center

My background is electrical engineering, BSEE University of South Carolina, MSEE University of Dayton.

Began my career in the Air Force as an Acquisitions Officer.  Duties included Research and Development, Test and Evaluation, and Operations and Maintenance of aerospace systems.

Started working in Energy Conservation 21 years ago while assigned to the Civil Engineering Squadron at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls TX.

Was offered my current position with the VA in 2007 as Energy Manager for the Amarillo and Big Spring VA Medical Centers.

Major job duties include developing and implementing energy and water conservation programs, project management of energy related construction, utilities contract management (electric, natural gas, water, sewage), board member for selection of energy service contractors to the VA, and in-house shop support on energy and electrical issues.

Have a wife and 2 sons.  Wife is a school teacher and sons are 14 and 17 years old.