Nellis Air Force base goes solar
Construction on the largest solar photovoltaic system ever to be built in North America began at Nellis Air Force Base.
Spearheading the project is a team that includes the United States Air Force, Nevada Power Company, MMA Renewable Ventures, LLC, a subsidiary of Municipal Mortgage & Equity, LLC (MuniMae), and PowerLight Corp., a subsidiary of SunPower Corporation.
The Nellis solar energy system will generate in excess of 25 million kilowatt-hours of clean electricity annually and supply more than 25 percent of the power used at the base. Occupying 140 acres of land leased from the Air Force at the western edge of the base, this ground-mounted solar system will employ an advanced tracking system, designed and deployed by PowerLight, to follow the sun.
Approximately 70,000 solar panels and PowerLight PowerTracker® will capture up to 30 percent more energy than an equivalent ground-mounted fixed-tilt system. Rated at approximately 15 megawatts (MW), the array will generate the power of a rooftop solar system with a rating of approximately 18 MW. The energy generated will support the more than 12,000 military and civilians at Nellis who are responsible for Air Force advanced combat training, tactics development and operational testing.
MMA Renewable Ventures will finance, own and operate the landmark system and sell the power to Nellis under the terms of a Power Purchase Agreement.