The 14.2-megawatt solar array spanning 140 acres at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada is nothing to sneeze at, as far as photovoltaic systems go–but soon, it will be eclipsed as the largest such array in the Air Force, as military engineers recently announced plans to build three new solar arrays by 2013 that are as big as or bigger than the current Nellis project.
These new projects are slated for the Davis-Monthan and Luke Air Force Bases in sunny Arizona, and will effectively quadruple the size of the U.S. Air Force’s solar generating capacity. Davis-Monthan officials plan to purchase electricity from a 14.5-megawatt photovoltaic solar array to be constructed, designed, owned, operated and maintained by SunEdison, while officials at at Luke Air Force Base will be working in a similar way with Arizona Public Service to build a 15-megawatt solar array.
The Davis-Monthan solar array is expected to provide for 35% of the base’s electricity needs, while the Luke array is expected to deliver 50% of the base’s energy needs (while saving up to $10 million on utility bills over 25 years, according to Lt. Col. John Thomas, the 56th Civil Engineer Squadron commander.
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