Redstone Arsenal U.S. Army power in Alabama will soon be powered by the thanks to a new 10 megawatt SunPower array that is beginning construction in June 2016. The new project will provide energy security for the station as well as low-cost electricity.
It is the first power purchase agreement (PPA) project awarded by Huntsville Center through the renewable and alternative energy Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC). The $7 billion MATOC program is part of the Army’s efforts to produce as much energy as it uses at its sites across the country.
"Every renewable energy project we implement brings our Army closer to its energy goals and further strengthens our energy security," said former Col. Robert Ruch, Huntsville Center commander. "Under this agreement, we are benefitting from cost-competitive, reliable solar power without the upfront costs of asset ownership.”
The new array will deliver solar power at or below the current cost the base is paying for electricity under a 27-year PPA. It will provide up to 18,000 megawatt hours per year for Redstone Arsenal. The project is being developed by Redstone Arsenal's Directorate of Public Works, the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Huntsville Center's Energy Division. SunPower will install, own and maintain the project, which is using its solar panels and Oasis modular system.
The new solar power plant also is designed as microgrid ready. As such, it could connect to a future microgrid, enhancing the post’s security, allowing it to operate even during local power outages.
"This represents a continuation of the Army's deployment of renewable energy at installations across the country. It is symbolic of the changing dynamics of energy produced in the United States, especially in the Southeast," said Richard Kidd, deputy assistant secretary of the Army, energy and sustainability. "The project substantially increases the amount of installed solar power in Alabama at no additional cost to consumers. It is also testament to what the Army can accomplish by working with industry stakeholders such as SunPower, local officials, and other partners such as the U.S Army Corps of Engineers and Redstone Arsenal."
SunPower already has installed more than 100 megawatts of solar across 33 federal sites, including some of the largest on military bases. ”Solar is cost-competitive with traditional energy sources today, and is helping the U.S. military reduce operational costs," said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, business units.Tweet