Air Force boasts biggest solar plant among US military installations


California’s SunEdison and MIC Solar Energy Holdings have completed a 16.4 MW PV plant located at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base outside Tucson, Arizona.

The plant is the largest solar energy facility at any U.S. Department of Defense installation and is expected to reduce the Air Force’s utility costs by $500,000 annually for the next 25 years.

"This project was very rewarding for our team because we are helping save our fellow taxpayers’ money," said Bob Powell, SunEdison president of North America. "The Air Force, like other branches of the armed forces, is a perfect candidate for solar power because they have high electricity demands and often have large plots of underutilized land."

SunEdison said the project was made possible by a public-private alliance between Davis-Monthan AFB, SunEdison, the North American Development Bank (NADB), MIC Solar Energy, Chevron Energy Solutions and local officials.

MIC Solar Energy, a subsidiary of Macquarie Infrastructure Company, specializes in infrastructure investments and took ownership of the project. The SunEdison Renewable Operation Center (ROC), which provides global 24/7 asset management, monitoring and reporting services, will manage plant operations through a contract with MIC Solar Energy.

The plant, which is located on two plots of previously underutilized land totaling 170 acres (69 hectares), is designed to provide 35 percent of the base’s electricity requirements and is expected to generate enough electricity each year to power 5,173 houses. As the largest consumer of energy in the federal government, the Air Force is working to increase its use of renewable electricity to 25 percent by 2025.

The Davis-Monthan AFB solar power plant utilizes SunEdison SilvantisTM Solar Photovoltaic Modules, which are assembled with SunEdison polysilicon and wafers.

The project news follows publication of SunEdison’s 2013 fourth-quarter figures on Wednesday.