Of all the different loan guarantees that came and went during the U.S. Department of Energy’s last minute funding spree, one that seemed the most promising would have helped out with the installation of rooftop systems on privatized military family residences and other privatized buildings on U.S. military bases. Called SolarStrong, it unfortunately was not approved prior to the loan guarantee program’s expiration at the end of September.
Now, however, SolarStrong backers SolarCity and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are moving forward with the promising project in an ambitious plan over five years that looks to have a $1 billion price tag. The two entities have agreed to terms on financing for the project, which will see SolarCity partnering “with the country’s leading privatized military housing developers to install, own and operate rooftop solar installations and provide solar electricity at a lower cost than utility power.”
The ultimate target goal of the project is to create up to up to 300 megawatts of solar generation capacity that could provide power to as many as 120,000 military housing units. It is believed SolarStrong would be the largest residential solar photovoltaic project in American history.
In terms of jobs, the SolarStrong project reportedly will create “thousands of full-time and temporary jobs,” with many of these positions being offered to U.S. veterans and military family members. As the solar installation buildout occurs, it is believed it will “allow privatized military housing developers to save money on energy costs that can be reallocated toward quality-of-life improvements and enhanced services for military families.”
SolarCity noted as well it plans to work the U.S. Department of Defense to gain more of its energy needs through renewable sources operated in parallel with the utility grid.