U.S. Navy Signs Deal To Add 40 MW Of Solar Power To Its Bases
The United States Navy’s engineering unit has signed a $200 million
contract to build 40 megawatts of solar power plants at Navy and Marine Corps stations,
aiding the Navy’s initiative to draw power largely from renewable sources.
The Navy’s Facilities Engineering Command (Navfac) signed the contract with five solar power developers on military installations across the Southwestern region of United States.
SunEdison, Solar Power Partners Inc., SunPower Corporation, SunDurance Energy L.L.C., and Chevron Energy Solutions Company will share million-dollar contract.
The planned solar farms, which will use photovoltaic technology, are expected to have electricity generating capacities ranging from 1 to 15 megawatts each. The developers will own the installations they will build and will run and maintain them for the Navy.
The Navy and the Marine Corps reserve will buy electricity from the solar farms through power purchase agreements. Nate Butler, head of Navfac’s Southwest renewable program, said the military and the Navy can benefit significantly from power purchase agreements because they would have access to renewable power with no initial capital investment.
The first three projects are scheduled to rise in California to be fully operational within a year.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, California has one of the most hours of full noontime sun daily with an average of 9 kilowatt-hours per square meter a day.
“This contract will enable the Navy and Marine Corps to take advantage of the tremendous solar resource in the Southwestern U.S.,” Mr. Butler said.
The Navy plans to produce at least 50 percent of its shore-based energy requirements from renewable energy sources by 2020. It has signed an agreement with the Department of Agriculture to encourage the development of renewable energy systems and advanced biofuels.
The Navy said it also intends to use alternative sources to provide half of the total energy consumption of their ships, aircraft, tanks and other vehicles by 2020.
The Navy has also revealed plans to develop a renewables-powered strike group. This green strike group will be made up of nuclear vessels and biofuel-powered ships by 2012. Along with that, the Navy envisions a green fleet made up of nuclear ships, surface combatants armed with hybrid-electric alternative power systems driven by biofuels, and biofuel-run aircraft by 2016.