Depot Initiates Pilot Program to Save Energy

by Jaclyn Nix, CCAD Public Affairs

Arturo Garcia, a pattern maker in the Foundry, demonstrates how an Apache tail boom skin is

CCAD explores environmental options through a prototyped solar-powered scooter. Photo by Jaclyn Nix (RELEASED).


Corpus Christi, TX (February 28, 2012) – Corpus Christi Army Depot is taking steps to go green and reduce energy consumption to save money with a pilot program.

Infrastructure Operations (S4) initiated a solar-powered scooter pilot program by installing a solar panel, or a sunray solar top, located above one of the electric scooters at the depot.

“CCAD has a total of about 219 scooters and 209 of those are actually electric scooters,” said James Spurgeon, Quality Assurance Specialist. “In the last two years we’ve increased our scooters by 50. That’s a pretty good increase of scooters.”

Club Car and Taylor Dunn are the primary scooter brands used at the depot. Club Car supplies 60% of the scooters. CCAD purchased the sunray solar tops from Eco Trans Alliance, who produced tops for Club Car.

Before the depot decides to put solar panels on the rest of the scooters, they must review the battery power on a day-to-day basis and see how much power is being drawn. This is what the pilot program is all about.

The battery life of the solar-powered scooters is extended by 30% if the scooter is recharged in the sun. This reduces the need to constantly charge the battery at the end of the workday. Plugs will be more readily available for those scooters that still need the plugs.

“Solar power does not eliminate the need to plug in for electric power to charge but it reduces the amount of time because solar power continuously provides power to the battery,” said Spurgeon. “This is what we are looking at for lower electric costs.”

Driving distance with the solar panels is increased on an average of five to twelve miles per day. The solar panels are easy to install and require no maintenance.

There is one drawback to this environmental project. More parking spaces would have to be allotted for scooters to charge in the sun.

Even though these solar panels increase battery life by 30% it will only be effective if the scooter has a good, healthy battery. Eco Trans Alliance recommends to replacing the old battery with a new one when solar panels are installed. However, if the people using the battery keep up with the battery maintenance, there is no need for new batteries.

“Probably 40% of our unscheduled maintenance calls at Motor Pool are due to batteries that we had to replace,” said Spurgeon. “If you don’t maintain your vehicle, solar power is not going to help.”

If the program is approved, the next step is to determine the potential cost savings for the depot followed by acquisition logistics and usability analyses.

“CCAD has an energy conservation plan that’s a big deal and we all need to look at ways in our work centers to try to improve our power usage,” said Spurgeon.

 

Designated a Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence for rotary wing aircraft, Corpus Christi Army Depot ensures aviation readiness through overhaul, repair, modification, retrofit, testing, recapitalization, and modernization of helicopters, engines and components. This effort includes world-wide on-site field maintenance teams, analytical crash investigations and chemical material process facilities. CCAD serves as a depot training base for active duty Army, National Guard, and reserve units. CCAD, as South Texas' largest industrial employer, employs more than 5500 personnel and contractors providing an overall economic impact of more than $1.14 Billon to the local community.