Vandenberg Air Force Base in California will soon host the Air Force’s largest behind-the-meter solar farm, a 28 megawatt solar farm where all the energy produced is consumed onsite. The project, being built by SunPower, will produce roughly 54,500 megawatt hours annually—about 35 percent of the base’s energy needs at cost-competitive prices.
SunPower has worked with the military and the Air Force to install solar on a number of bases, including the first large-scale solar array at Nellis Air Force Base, a 13.2 megawatt system installed in 2007, and a subsequent 15 megawatt installation installed last year. SunPower also partnered with the Huntsville Center in Alabama to install a 10 megawatt project at Redstone Arsenal US Army last year.
"A solar project that is grid-connected to the base enables us to meet our electric demand with renewable energy and increase our energy security," said Ken Domako, chief of Portfolio Optimization at Vandenberg Air Force Base. "We look forward to increasing the Air Force's energy independence with competitively priced, dependable solar from SunPower."
"SunPower is pleased to offer a cost-competitive renewable energy solution to the US Air Force, which will provide increasing economic and environmental value to the Vandenberg Air Force Base for 25 years," said Nam Nguyen, SunPower executive vice president. That’s the duration of the power-purchase agreement the Air Force signed with SunPower. “We congratulate the Air Force for its commitment to renewable energy, and are proud to help the Air Force achieve its sustainability goals.” Under the agreement the Air will retain the environmental credits the system produces.
The solar farm is being installed where Air Force housing once stood outside Vandenberg’s gates. The land has been vacant since 2007.
The new solar farm will help the Air Force meet its goal of producing 25 percent of its energy from renewables. "The Air Force has an aggressive target to meet that requires full energy assurance for key missions," said Dan Gerdes, Air Force Civil Engineer Center rates and renewables division chief. "By diversifying our energy mix at Vandenberg to include SunPower's high efficiency solar technology, we're confident we'll have the electrons we need, when we need them, creating long-term value for our operations."
Each branch of the military, actually is moving quickly to renewable energy, both at home and overseas. In 2014, for instance, Forts Stewart, Benning and Gordon in Georgia each announced they were adding 30 megawatt solar power farms. Meanwhile, the armed forces are also using more solar power in their forward operating bases and other locations worldwide in an attempt to reduce the deadly transport of fuels.Tweet