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News > D-M awards solar photovoltaic utility contract to SunEdison
D-M awards solar photovoltaic utility contract to SunEdison

Posted 9/15/2010   Updated 9/15/2010 Email story   Print story


Release Number: 050910

9/15/2010 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz.  -- Base officials awarded SunEdison a solar photovoltaic utility contract Sep 10, 2010. DM will purchase electricity from a new 14.5 megawatt photovoltaic solar array to be constructed by SunEdison on DMAFB property.

The ground-mounted PV array is slated to cover approximately 130 acres and will be constructed in under-utilized areas on the northwest and north sides of the base. It is anticipated that construction will begin in 2011.

"This project highlights not only the Air Force's commitment to renewable energy but also Arizona's commitment to renewable energy," said Col. John A. Cherrey, 355th Fighter Wing commander. "Several years of industry and government teamwork was required to bring this renewable energy project to this point. The use of emission-free solar power to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, as well as long-term savings on electricity costs, is a great benefit to the base."

The solar PV array project is structured as a Renewable Energy Power Purchase Agreement which is made up of a utility contract and a long-term ground lease. The ground lease will run approximately 20 years. Under this structure, SunEdison will design, own, operate, and maintain the PV array while DMAFB will lease the land to SunEdison and purchase the electricity generated from the array. The REPPA between DMAFB and SunEdison will help both parties advance renewable energy efforts for Arizona and the Air Force. Engineers expect the array to deliver 35 percent of DMAFB's total base load of energy.

"Davis-Monthan is doing its part to meet the Defense Department's overall goal to receive 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025," said Lt. Col. Laurie Richter, 355th Civil Engineer Squadron commander. "REPPAs allow the government to purchase green power without a capital investment - it's a win-win for Davis-Monthan, SunEdison, Tucson Electric Power, and the State of Arizona."

Finalizing the ground lease, which may take several months, must be complete before construction of the PV array can begin. Once the ground lease is signed by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, the 355th Contracting Squadron will issue a notice to proceed upon which SunEdison has six months to begin construction and 36 months to become fully operational.

DMAFB is also home to the largest community renewable energy project in the continental U.S. - the community project, developed by Soaring Heights Communities, includes a 3.3 MW ground-mounted PV array and 2.7 MWs in rooftop-mounted PV. With the Soaring Heights Communities arrays and this new 14.5 MW array, DM will soon be home to the largest solar-generating capacity in DoD.

Other solar energy projects at DM include the large solar pool heater at the outdoor Aquatic Center, and solar hot water pre-heaters on the fitness centers and dormitories. DM officials are also working to ensure that a new dormitory, which will include 20 kilowatts of PV and is expected to be complete in the summer of 2011, will receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

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