US AFB PV project takes flight

SunEdison and a subsidiary of Macquarie Infrastructure Company have completed a 16.4MW solar PV plant on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base outside Tucson, Arizona.

The facility is the largest solar energy facility at any US Defense Department installation and is expected to reduce the Air Force's utility costs by $500,000 annually for the next 25 years.

It is located on previously underutilized land and is designed to provide 35% of the base's electricity requirements.

The project is a public/private alliance between the base, SunEdison, The North American Development Bank (NADB), Macquarie subsidiary MIC Solar Energy Holdings, Chevron Energy Solutions and local officials.

MIC Solar Energy Holdings, which specializes in infrastructure investments, took ownership of the project.  The SunEdison Renewable Operation Center (ROC), which provides global 24/7 asset management, monitoring and reporting services, will manage plant operations through a contract with MIC Solar Energy Holdings.

SunEdison provided the PV modules.

The Air Force is the largest consumer of energy in the US federal government. Along with the Army and Navy, It has committed to procuring and producing 1GW of renewable energy at its permanent installations (and/or on 65,000sq km of military land opened up for development).

The Air Force expects to meet this goal by 2016.