The US Army today dedicated its largest solar photovoltaic system at White Sands Missile Range. The ceremony was led by Brigadier General Gwen Bingham, who was joined by the Honorable Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment.
The four megawatt White Sands Missile Range solar energy system has been developed by the US Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, Siemens Government Technologies, and Bostonia Bank. It is understood the solar system will generate approximately 10 million kilowatt-hours of clean electricity annually, and provide an estimated annual savings of $930,000.
Complemented by a 375 kW solar carport, the solar array deployed at White Sands will supply approximately 10 percent of the total power used at the installation and reduce carbon emissions by 7,400 tons per year. Featuring Solaria’s proprietary technology, the 4.1 MW ground-mounted tracking system is also the world’s largest low concentration photovoltaic solar power plant.
White Sands Missile Range is a Test and Evaluation Command Installation operated primarily for the support of research, development, test and evaluation of weapon and space systems, subsystems and components. Encompassing a missile range/rocket launch range, White Sands is one of the largest military installations in the US covering 3,200 square miles. The facility is unique in the fact that it has several agencies on site as tenants including NASA and the U.S. Air Force.
“This is an exciting project for the U.S. Army,” said Garrison Commander Colonel Leo Pullar. “A sunny location like New Mexico provides an ideal site for solar power. This project illustrates the U.S. Army’s commitment to going green, our focus on operating on net zero energy, and doing what we can to help protect the environment.”
“We are very pleased to be inaugurating this milestone photovoltaic installation,” said Will Irby, Huntsville Center program manager.
“We’re extremely grateful to the entire team, comprised of the staff from White Sands Missile Range, Huntsville Center, Siemens, their subcontractor Solaria Corporation and Bostonia, working under the leadership of Brigadier General Gwen Bingham and Colonel Leo Pullar. Everyone has done an outstanding job to bring this project to fruition.”
Construction of the solar power plant began in April 2012 and was completed in December 2012. The ground-mounted single-axis Solaria tracking system follows the sun across the sky, increasing energy yield by up to 30% over fixed systems. All energy generated from the project will be consumed by onsite operations.