On Saturday, the U.S. Department of the Navy (DON), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) celebrated the dedication of Mesquite Solar 3, a solar facility that will provide one-third of the power needed for 14 Navy and Marine Corps sites in California. According to a DON press release, the agreement represents the largest purchase of renewable energy ever made by a federal entity.
Located in Arizona, the 210 MW DC solar facility project is coming online in four stages. The DON says the first power block began generating electricity in August, with the remaining three blocks scheduled for completion by year-end 2016, which is when the facility will be fully operational.
“This ceremony marks the completion of one of the first, and most monumental, renewable energy projects undertaken by the Navy,” Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations & Environment Dennis V. McGinn. “The 14 Navy and Marine Corps installations that will be receiving the power produced by Mesquite Solar 3 will be getting more than just clean, renewable power. They will be getting increased energy resiliency and security, which is crucial to maintaining our mission readiness.” (Earlier last week, McGinn also signed a memorandum of understanding with the California Energy Commission to partner on renewable energy initiatives.)
Kevin Sagara, Sempra’s senior vice president and president of renewables, added, “Sempra U.S. Gas & Power could not be more pleased to celebrate this outstanding partnership with the Department of the Navy and Western Area Power Administration,” said Sagara. These organizations are helping drive our nation’s energy future, and this latest expansion of the Mesquite Solar complex reflects their progressive vision and leadership.”
Mesquite Solar 3 is part of the three-phase Mesquite Solar Complex, and the DON notes that the DOE Loan Programs Office (LPO) was key to the success of the Mesquite Solar 1 facility, which received a $337 loan guarantee in 2011. In fact, the DOE suggests that its LPO played an integral role in launching the overall U.S. utility-scale solar market.