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Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords addresses the crowd during a ceremony hosted by Soaring Heights Communities Nov. 10. Congresswoman Giffords was here to celebrate what will become the largest solar-powered community in the continental U.S. The event showcased the on-going construction of more than 80,000 solar array panels in the base's privatized housing neighborhood. Several private companies are working to create one of the nation's largest distributed, community-wide solar power systems at Davis-Monthan. This system is expected to produce more than 10 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. This is sufficient enough to provide an estimated 75 percent of the residents' energy use next year and could eventually offset more than 100 percent of Soaring Heights Communities' electricity use. (U.S. Air Force photo by/Staff Sgt. Jacqueline Romero)
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Davis-Monthan to House Air Force's Largest Stateside Solar-Power Community

Posted 11/18/2009   Updated 11/23/2009 Email story   Print story

    


by Senior Airman Jamie L. Coggan
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


11/18/2009 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz.  -- Representatives from the base, community, and Actus Lend Lease, the base's privatized housing developer, celebrated what will become the largest solar-powered community in the continental U.S. during a ceremony hosted by Soaring Heights Communities on Nov. 10.

The event, attended by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, showcased the on-going construction of more than 80,000 solar array panels in the base's privatized housing neighborhood, which is operated by Soaring Heights Communities.

Several private companies are working to create one of the nation's largest distributed, community-wide solar power systems at Davis-Monthan. This system is expected to produce more than 10 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. This is sufficient enough to provide an estimated 75 percent of the residents' energy use next year and could eventually offset more than 100 percent of Soaring Heights Communities' electricity use.

A 45,000 panel ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) system and rooftop solar systems will be installed on approximately 900 residences. The rooftop solar system is expected to consist of more than 36,000 panels.

The ground-mounted array is expected to be complete by January 2010 with the rooftop systems installed on hundreds of new and existing homes by the end of 2010.

Once complete, this will be the largest solar-powered community -- not just in Arizona, but the continental U.S. This will also be one of the few solar-powered communities on a state-side Air Force Base. In 2007, Nellis Air Force Base, located near Las Vegas, opened its own solar power plant.

Actus Lend Lease, the project owner, is also currently developing one of the world's largest solar-powered communities at its Army Hawaii Family Housing complex. Upon completion, this will become the largest solar-powered community in the U.S

The combination of the solar array and rooftop panels here is expected to offset more than 570 million pounds of carbon dioxide over the system's lifetime. This is equivalent to taking approximately 50,000 cars off the road for a year, or planting more than 300,000 trees.

The project will be completed in two concurrent phases. The first phase, which began in mid-October, is the development of a 3.3-megawatt ground array, located on 20 acres of Soaring Heights land, behind base housing, near Golf Links Road. More than 1,000 panels are being installed a day.

The second phase is focusing on the installation of a 2.7-megawatt residential roof system on approximately 900 new and existing residences.

"This project allows us to proudly display our environmental stewardship," said Col. Robert Singleton, 355th Fighter Wing vice commander. "I can't express the amount of teamwork and partnership required to make this project a reality. This is another wonderful accomplishment for team Davis-Monthan and it shows the strength of our relationship with our friends outside the gate."

The solar systems were designed and are being installed by SolarCity, a private solar system provider, and will be interconnected by Tucson Electric Power Company.

"This solar array is a model for our region, showing communities that large scale solar power can become a reality," said Congresswoman Giffords.



tabComments
12/6/2009 4:16:43 PM ET
Go Air Force A great contribution toward being 'green' in our Military Housing
Nancy, Tucson AZ
 
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