Edwards AFB 500-MW Solar Project is Largest in U.S.

by | Jan 27, 2010

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NellisSolarPanelsSetting in motion the development of the largest solar project in North America, the United States Air Force has entered into a partnership with Fotowatio Renewable Ventures of San Francisco to lease part of the Edwards Air Force Base for a massive solar array with an estimated production capacity of up to 500 megawatts, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The Air Force Real Property Agency agreed to lease 3,288 acres of land at Edwards AFB in the Antelope Valley for the solar project, which would also be the largest energy Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) for the Department of Defense, reports AltEnergyMag. More than 30 EULs are in development around the country, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The deal gives Fotowatio exclusive access to the site initially to conduct environmental and transmission studies, reports the Los Angeles Times. Construction will begin in 2013.

Fotwatio’s worldwide portfolio includes projects that produce more than 130 megawatts and more than 1,000 megawatts in development across the U.S. and Europe, respectively, reports the Los Angeles Times. One military project includes the installation of a 14.2 MW solar system at the Nellis Air Force base.

The Stewart Air National Guard Base in New York also plans a new solar energy farm that will serve as a model for other military installations, reports My Fox New York. The project, to be built this year, is expected to generate enough electricity to power 100 homes, according to the article.

Driven by new government requirements that call for each military branch to purchase or generate at least 25 percent of the energy they use from renewable sources by 2025, the project is funded by a $4 million federal investment under the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill, reports My Fox New York.

In other military news, the USDA and the Department of the Navy (DoN) have signed an agreement to develop advanced biofuels and other renewable energy systems, reports Domestic Fuel.

Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus recently announced five energy targets for the Navy and Marine corps, of which biofuels is a major component.

By 2012, the Navy wants to have a Green Strike Group composed of nuclear vessels and ships powered by biofuel and a Great Green Fleet that has nuclear ships, surface combatants equipped with hybrid electric alternative power systems running on biofuel, and aircraft running on biofuel by 2016, reports Domestic Fuel.

In addition, the Navy wants to cut petroleum use in half for 50,000 non-tactical commercial vehicles by 2020, through the phase-in of hybrid, flex fuel and electric vehicles.

The U.S. Navy has reduced its overall energy consumption level by 12 percent in 2008 with projects centered on wind energy generation, solar photovoltaic systems, geothermal systems and ocean thermal energy conversion at military bases primarily in California.

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