Monday, November 2, 2009

DOD Beginning to See the Light

Beginning, that is, if you don't count the 14 MW installation at Nellis AFB in Nevada which has now been in place a couple of years. I'm sure there are more, but here are two press releases forwarded to me last week, announcing another ambitious solar deployment by the Air Force and a 1 GW (potential) whopper by the Army. Like the Nellis project before them, the financing is every bit as innovative as the technology. First, here's the Air Force one:
TUCSON, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Housing developer Actus Lend Lease, SolarCity®, Tucson Electric Power (TEP), and financing parties National Bank of Arizona and U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC) are working to create one of the nation’s largest distributed, community-wide solar power systems at Soaring Heights Communities at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Upon completion, the community is expected to be the largest solar-powered community in the continental U.S. The solar systems are expected to produce more than 10 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually—sufficient to provide an estimated 75 percent of the residents’ energy use next year—and could eventually offset 100 percent of Soaring Heights Communities’ electricity use.
Full Air Force Press Release here. And now for the Army:
LOS ANGELES, Oct 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. military is tackling a new mission in the field of alternative energy, moving to power up a 500-megawatt solar facility at Fort Irwin's sprawling desert complex in California.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tapped ACCIONA Solar Power, a unit of Spain's Acciona SA (ANA.MC), and Clark Energy Group to develop the project, which launched its first phase on Thursday. The project, located at the Army's largest training range in California's Mojave Desert, could grow as large as 1 gigawatt in the future.
Full Army Press Release here. Not one to rest on its geothermal laurels (see: China Lake), I'm sure the Navy has a solar response up its sleeves. Stay tuned.

Photo Credit: Mike Baird at Flickr

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