Nellis AFB Unveils Second Solar Array
Dan Cohen AUTHOR Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, now sports DOD’s largest photovoltaic field, after officials from the Air Force, SunPower Corp. and NV Energy last week dedicated the installation’s second solar array.The $50 million project, a 15-megawatt system, will combine with an existing 13.2-megawatt plant to fully power the base with renewable energy during daylight hours. Both projects were built by SunPower.“The partnership we have with NV Energy and SunPower began over nine years ago with the ribbon cutting of our first solar photovoltaic array, and combined today with the second array will be the largest PVA in the Department of Defense,” said Col. Richard Boutwell, 99th Air Base Wing commander. “This goes hand-in-hand with one of the key purposes of our mission here in Nevada — to be a good neighbor, to find ways where economic growth is compatible with military requirements,” Boutwell said, according to Nellis Public Affairs.As part of the project, NV Energy built a new adjacent substation and underground distribution lines to provide additional redundancy and electricity reliability at Nellis. The utility owns and operates the new array, which was built over a closed landfill.Miranda Ballentine, assistant secretary for installations, environment and energy, said the Air Force is focused on continuing critical community partnerships like this one that also advance the service’s energy resiliency, and deliver cost effective and cleaner power.“These goals are important to us, but this solar array doesn’t stop at making better use of land, meeting Air Force renewable energy goals, and saving money,” Ballentine said. “This project also enhances our mission assurance through energy assurance and showcases how interlocked our national security is with our energy, the economy and our environment,” she said.