Air Force to Expand Solar Capabilities

Monday - 10/25/2010, 5:53pm EDT

For years, the biggest renewable-energy project in the Air Force was a 140-acre solar array at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. It produces about 14-point-2 megawatts of electricity annually.

Air Force engineers are now set to outdo that project with plans to build three new larger solar arrays by the year 2013.Officials at the Davis Monthan and Luke Air Force Bases in Arizona are planning even larger solar arrays to be constructed, owned, and operated by SunEdison Company.

The Davis Monthan project is expected to generate 14-and-a-half megawatts of solar energy, delivering 35-percent of that bases energy needs.

Meantime, officials at Luke have teamed up with the Arizona Public Service Company to build a 15-megawatt solar array on 100 acres of under-utilized base property. That project could produce enough energy to satisfy half of the base's energy needs, potentially saving up to 10 million dollars on utility bills over the next quarter-century.