April 25, 2014 - Today, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and the U.S. Army marked the start of a major renewable energy project at Fort Huachuca, Arizona that will be the Department of Defense's largest solar installation. The 155-acre project leverages private financing and is expected to exceed 18-megawatts of clean power and provide 25 percent of the military base's power. Officials kicked off the project with a groundbreaking ceremony at the base where construction is set to begin in the next few days.
"These kinds of projects are vital to building a sustainable infrastructure for our nation," said Ruth Cox, GSA Regional Administrator. "It is important for the federal government to lead by example in reducing our carbon footprint. This project serves as a model for innovative partnering between the government and private industry while also easing our impact on the environment."
Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment added: "The Army is partnering with the private sector for renewable energy in many ways. The Fort Huachuca project is greater than the sum of all projects developed last year—quite an accomplishment!"
"We're very proud to provide Fort Huachuca with a cost-effective solar power resource that will contribute to the base's long-term energy security," said David Hutchens, President and Chief Operating Officer of Tucson Electric Power (TEP), Fort Huachuca's electric provider. "This new, productive partnership will benefit our customers while helping both the base and TEP make significant progress toward our respective renewable energy goals," Hutchens said.
The project is a collaboration between GSA, the Army Energy Initiatives Task Force, Fort Huachuca, TEP and its developer E.ON Climate & Renewables. The deal was struck using a GSA areawide public utility contract, which allows federal agencies to get the utility services they need to serve the American people. Under the agreement, TEP will fund, own, maintain and operate the project, and contract with E.ON for the design, engineering, procurement and construction.
The new solar panels will ease stress on the local power grid. Beyond providing Fort Huachuca electricity options, the project promotes the U.S. Army's energy security objectives. The base will now have the ability to "island" and run electric power completely off the grid using its solar power source when needed.
- The PV solar panels will be installed on a 155-acre parcel of land on Fort Huachuca.
- The project will utilize the existing GSA areawide public utility contract, and TEP will provide electric service at Arizona Corporation Commission approved rates.
- TEP will fund, own and operate the solar PV project and has contracted with industry partner E.ON for the system's design, engineering, procurement and construction management.
- As the utility provider, TEP is uniquely positioned to streamline the interconnection process through the TEP-owned Fort Huachuca substation, thereby reducing interconnection costs and improving system reliability.
- Construction is set to begin immediately and the PV panels will begin providing clean, renewable energy to the base this fall.