Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst will soon host the 16.5-megawatt solar farm, upping the base’s total solar generation to 28.8 MWs. The latest project is being built on a Superfund site where the military dumped waste until 1984—much of it undocumented.
“This is a great example of a cleaner, more resilient project, and we’re going to be doing more of them,” said Miranda A.A. Ballentine, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and energy, at a ground-breaking ceremony on Dec. 21. “This project demonstrates the innovative pathways our Airmen and civilians are taking to strengthen mission assurance through energy assurance.”
The 98-acre project broke ground on Dec. 21 is expected to come online within six months. The project’s 50,000 solar panels are expected to produce more than 21,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy annually, which the Air Force said is enough to power more than 2,500 homes.
McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is no stranger to solar power. Earlier this year the military and the Department of Energy expanded their Solar Ready Vets training program to the joint Air Force, Navy, Army base. Moreover, It’s actually the second solar project at the base. In 2013, True Green Capital—also a developer and owner of the current project, developed and was an equity sponsor for the 12.3-megawatt solar installation on military housing at the base. The new project is being co-developed by affiliates of Starwood Energy and Energy Management.
“Solar power is one of the most efficient and affordable energy alternatives today,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Cunniff, the adjutant general of New Jersey. “Whether you're interested in solar power because of its economic or environment impact, during these times of budgetary constraints on the federal side and the state side, I think we can all agree this joint solar project could not happen at a greater time.”
The new project was undertaken as part of the Air Force’s Enhanced Use Lease program. The program aims to create mutually beneficial commercial projects on Air Force land. Under the program, projects can lease the land and utilities can use the power produced.
“We are pleased to contribute to the renewable energy objectives of the United States military, and appreciate all of the support for this project from the Pentagon, Air Force Civil Engineer Center and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst,” said Brad Nordholm, the senior managing director and co-head of Starwood Energy.
New Jersey is one of the states leading the nation on repurposing brownfields and Superfund sites for solar power development. In fact, one of the state’s leading utilities, Public Service Electric and Gas Co. wants to install 100 megawatts of new solar power on landfills and brownfields by the end of 2021.Tweet