Normally we do not like solar farms – they are usually built to feedinto the Grid – but not this one.
The army just kicked off a solar farm in Arizona that will be the Department of Defense’s largest solar installation. And the entire energy output will be used at the base.
The 155-acre project announced at Fort Huachuca, leverages private financing and is expected to exceed 18-megawatts of clean power and provide 25 percent of the military base’s power. Officials kicked off the project with a groundbreaking ceremony at the base where construction is set to begin in the next few days.
“These kinds of projects are vital to building a sustainable infrastructure for our nation,” said Ruth Cox, General Services Administration (GSA) Regional Administrator. “It is important for the federal government to lead by example in reducing our carbon footprint. This project serves as a model for innovative partnering between the government and private industry while also easing our impact on the environment.”
Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment added: “The Army is partnering with the private sector for renewable energy in many ways. The Fort Huachuca project is greater than the sum of all projects developed last year-quite an accomplishment!”
“We’re very proud to provide Fort Huachuca with a cost-effective solar power resource that will contribute to the base’s long-term energy security,” said David Hutchens, President and Chief Operating Officer of Tucson Electric Power (TEP), Fort Huachuca’s electric provider. “This new, productive partnership will benefit our customers while helping both the base and TEP make significant progress toward our respective renewable energy goals,” Hutchens said.
The project is a collaboration between GSA, the Army Energy Initiatives Task Force, Fort Huachuca, TEP and its developer E.ON Climate & Renewables. The deal was struck using a GSA areawide public utility contract, which allows federal agencies to get the utility services they need to serve the American people. Under the agreement, TEP will fund, own, maintain and operate the project, and contract with E.ON for the design, engineering, procurement and construction.
The new solar panels will ease stress on the local power grid. Beyond providing Fort Huachuca electricity options, the project promotes the U.S. Army’s energy security objectives. The base will now have the ability to “island” and run electric power completely off the grid using its solar power source when needed.
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