US Air Force Moves Closer To Energy Security With New Solar Power Installations

US Air Force Moves Closer To Energy Security With New Solar Power Installations
US Air Force Moves Closer To Energy Security With New Solar Power Installations

New Solar Power Installations Driven By The Need For Energy Security.

While some US politicians seem oblivious to climate change or it’s causes, the US armed forces is activily working to provide energy security through renewable energy. The US Army, Navy and Airforce are all engaged in solar energy projects not just for their US bases but also for the homes of their personnel.

It is not too hard to understand that true energy security can only come from distributed renewable energy systems such as wind and solar power. Having oil and natural gas reserves in the ground and in the strategic reserve tanks is no guarentee of long term energy security. All of these supplies are limited and supply chains can be disrupted.

Consider what the impact would be to the US, if for example a foriegn power was able to hack into the power grid and effectively shut it down?  Without electricity first responders and national guard would be running on backup batteries and diesel generators.

Compare this to having sufficient solar power to be off the grid when necessary and it is plain to see which is the most secure option. Here is news of near completion of another US Airforce solar power project that crosses 4 states.

Balfour Beatty Communities and SolarCity are nearing completion of approximately 7 megawatts of solar at Air Force family housing in four states. The rooftop solar panels are installed across the residential communities managed by Balfour Beatty Communities at Travis Air Force Base (AFB), in California; Sheppard AFB in Texas; Tyndall AFB in Florida; and Luke AFB in Arizona. Together the installations utilize more than 26,000 solar panels to provide power to more than two thousand housing units.

“I am very pleased to see this renewable, green-energy project coming to Travis Air Force Base,” said Congressman John Garamendi of California.

Installing solar on the homes of service members living in base housing makes sense.  This type of creative partnership between private and public entities and the communities surrounding our major military installations has become essential to the long-term viability of those bases and the critical missions they execute.  Funding for facility enhancements and critical base infrastructure has become very scarce due to budget cuts and sequestration.

These types of partnerships leverage private and community resources to produce a win-win scenario that mutually benefits all partners.  This project will save taxpayer money, help build long-term sustainability into the base, and is strategically smart for our military, our environment, and our nation.

“I commend all parties involved, especially the leadership at Travis Air Force, for prioritizing national security and military families, hiring of veterans, and deploying affordable clean energy in this innovative project that achieves multiple state and federal goals”, said California State Assembly member Jim Frazier (D-Oakley), whose district includes Travis Air Force Base.

Lupe Contreras, State Senator and Senate Minority Whip in Arizona Senate District 19 said:

The Luke Air Force Base solar project demonstrates how public-private collaboration can improve energy security and boost economic development by lowering utility costs and providing jobs for Arizona families, all through the magic of producing energy from Arizona’s most abundant resource, the sun.

SolarCity designed, built and will maintain the solar power systems, and the military housing project companies (jointly operated by the Air Force and Balfour Beatty Communities) realize savings from the lower cost of solar power. The rooftop installations will total nearly 7 megawatts (MW) of solar power generation capacity—Luke AFB is the largest of the installations with approximately 3.5 MW of solar followed by Tyndall AFB at 1.4 MW, Sheppard AFB at 1.1 MW and Travis AFB with just under 1 MW capacity.

“We are proud to extend our successful solar energy program to select properties within our Air Force portfolio,” said Chris Williams, president of Balfour Beatty Communities.

When installation is complete at these properties, we will have more than 40 megawatts of solar power generating capacity across our military portfolio. We are quite pleased to be able to partner with SolarCity to bring this clean, sustainable energy resource to so many of our communities.

The SolarStrong initiative creates jobs across the country with dozens of staff working on and installing each individual solar project. SolarCity emphasizes veteran hiring across the company, and has hired military veterans in over 90 locations across the United States in installation, recruiting, business development, sales and more.

True Energy Security From Local Solar Power Installations

SolarCity is the largest provider of solar energy to military housing in the country, and has projects on 37 military bases in 12 states providing power to tens of thousands of military personnel and their families.

More about US veterans and Solar energy.

Source: SolarCity.com

About Gordon Smith
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.

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