D-M cuts ribbon on largest U.S. military base solar project - Tucson News Now

D-M cuts ribbon on largest U.S. military base solar power project

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Air Force blue is going green.

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson is building a more sustainable future with the largest solar power project at any U.S. military installation in the world.

It's a 16.4 megawatt solar array project. 

D-M and local, government and private industry dignitaries cut the ribbon Thursday on the two giant solar arrays that are now providing more than a third of the energy that powers Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The arrays cover 170 acres.

"Our ability to make use of the sun for clear, renewable, constant energy is critical to our base," says Davis-Monthan 355th Fighter Wing Commander Kevin Blanchard.

The array is the result of a public/private partnership.

Cost to build: About $40 million to the private sector companies that installed and will maintain the array.

Davis-Monthan provided the land.

The base is one of the major users of electricity in Tucson.

"We're going to be able to keep those costs down for the next 25 years, guaranteeing a clean source of electricity for the base. And our initial estimates for the first few years is project saving on the order of four-to-500,000 dollars a year in our energy bill," Col. Blanchard says.

Several partners in the venture spoke at the ribbon-cutting, listing what they see as the project's benefits.

"Clean energy that then adds cost savings, provides jobs in our communities," says Bob Powell, President North America, SunEdison Solar Energy.

"This project will produce enough energy annually to power 3,000 homes. It will reduce carbon emissions equivalent to taking 7,500 cars off the road," says Tucson Electric President and COO David Hutchens.

The solar array is expected to provide about 35 percent of the base's electricity.

However, Col. Blanchard told KOLD News 13 that during more temperate times of the year the solar panels could provide enough energy to power the entire base.

Retired Navy Captain and astronaut, Mark Kelly, represented his wife, former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, at the event.

Several speakers cited Giffords' efforts in Congress, over many years, to bring people together and cut through red tape to get to this moment.

"Solar--well, renewable energy to begin with, but specifically solar-- being a member of Congress from Arizona, was one of her most important things and also how solar applied to the military, and renewable energy to the military. So it was one of Gabby's top priorities," Kelly says.

Davis-Monthan will be doing monthly evaluations to find out exactly how much money it's saving because of the solar array.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 50 employees fired after refusing flu shot

    50 employees fired after refusing flu shot

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 2:14 AM EST2017-11-22 07:14:40 GMT
    Wednesday, November 22 2017 2:14 AM EST2017-11-22 07:14:40 GMT
    At least 50 enployees at a health company have lost their jobs after refusing to get flu shots. (Source: KBJR/CN)At least 50 enployees at a health company have lost their jobs after refusing to get flu shots. (Source: KBJR/CN)

    Since September, employees have been given three options:  Get the flu shot, get an approved religious or medical exemption, or leave Essentia. At least 50 people have lost their jobs thus far.

    Since September, employees have been given three options:  Get the flu shot, get an approved religious or medical exemption, or leave Essentia. At least 50 people have lost their jobs thus far.

  • FedEx worker killed at airport hub

    FedEx worker killed at airport hub

    Thursday, November 23 2017 10:10 AM EST2017-11-23 15:10:25 GMT
    (Source: WMC Action News 5)(Source: WMC Action News 5)

    FedEx has confirmed that a worker was killed at the airport this morning.

    FedEx has confirmed that a worker was killed at the airport this morning.

  • Video: Teacher appears to do drugs in classroom

    Video: Teacher appears to do drugs in classroom

    Thursday, November 23 2017 11:19 AM EST2017-11-23 16:19:48 GMT
    Thursday, November 23 2017 11:19 AM EST2017-11-23 16:19:48 GMT

    Samantha Cox, 24, who students say teaches English, is now being held on drug charges, including felony possession of a controlled substance.

    Samantha Cox, 24, who students say teaches English, is now being held on drug charges, including felony possession of a controlled substance.

Powered by Frankly