US Army Opens Largest Military Solar PV Array
Whenever the word “green” gets associated with something military, the idea of uniforms, camouflage, or even the alternative meaning of “rookie” comes into mind.
The U.S. Army however, is now clearly poised to change our mindset about that. That is because they are about to open what could possibly be the largest solar array installation that they have constructed.
The development of the large solar PV array at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico has finally reached its completion. An almost countless number of panels that cover approximately 42 acres of land will be providing more than 4 megawatts of electricity to the entire base. The system is guaranteed to reduce energy consumption by up to 10%, allowing the base to technically save about 35,358M BTU in a single year.
The solar array was started by the Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) project, which was awarded and managed by the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center. The facility had an overall construction and development cost of about $16.5 million. It started by about July 2012, and was technically completed by the end of the year, December 2012. The Energy Savings Contractor that was chosen for this particular project was Siemens Government Technologies Inc. (of Arlington, Virginia).
While we could mainly see this as an effort to extend renewable energy projects to the military, it is actually more or less a strategic move to economize energy. Many energy facilities usually have over the top energy budgets, usually rising from the keeping and maintenance of either inefficient or outdated equipment in their respective headquarters or bases. With the solar array, they hope to break it even with the yearly 10% reduction, or cut down significantly on prices eventually, as the system gradually pays for itself.
As of January 16, 2013, the opening ribbon-cutting ceremonies have been completed, and the array is now fully operational.
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