The European Defence Agency (EDA) has signed a contract with a European energy consortium composed of Gamma Solutions (Spain), Schneider Electric (France) and Hanwha Q Cells (Germany) to supply, install, operate and maintain a 5 MW solar park at Paphos military airbase, in Cyprus.
The solar park will provide renewable energy to the site up to 2034, an EDA spokesman said.
The project is the first of the ‘Go Green’ initiative, aiming to develop green installations at military bases in Europe.
Tom Bennington, co-chairman of the Go Green management group at the EDA, said the Paphos project "marks the beginning of a journey that will see increased use of renewable energy by the military, with a long-term objective of reducing fossil fuel dependency by as much as 80% by 2050."
The initiative is supported by the ministries of defence of Cyprus, Greece, the Czech Republic and Luxembourg.
Speaking about the inaugural Paphos project, Cyprus’ ministry of defence said the solar park was auctioned by the EDA, will cost 6.5 million ($7.5 million) and will be funded by private funds managed by the energy consortium.
Pilot phase of Go Green
The EDA said the signing of the contract for the Paphos park brings to an end the pilot phase of its ‘Category B’ project, launched in March 2012 to capitalize on spare capacity in the defense estates, including land and buildings, for solar power generation.
The concept was brought to market, tested and refined via the Competitive Dialogue procurement model, which allows the EDA to work in close co-operation with industry experts.
The Cypriot government embraced the benefits of solar when an auction for 23 solar park licenses in 2013 led to power prices significantly lower than these achieved by fossil fuel plants.
The government has also launched an impressive net-metering program, kick-starting a new sector for the Cypriot economy.