The U.S. Air Force and utility El Paso Electric (EPE) have announced the beginning of construction of a new 5 MW solar facility to serve Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB) in New Mexico. The solar plant will be an EPE-owned dedicated energy resource for HAFB and is the first renewable energy project that EPE will build to serve a military installation.
“Providing our warfighter with diverse, resilient energy sources is a key component of mission assurance. The Air Force is committed to providing installations the support they need to determine where initiatives and technologies such as on-base solar can complement and enhance installation energy assurance plans,” says Dan Soto, renewable energy division chief at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC).
“Any time an installation has the opportunity to partner with its utility providers to improve energy resiliency and reduce their carbon footprint through renewable energy production, while at the same time saving taxpayers’ money, it is a good day,” says Lt. Col. Joel Purcell, 49th Wing Civil Engineer Squadron commander.
EPE, whose service territory includes West Texas and southern New Mexico, says the addition of this solar project will increase its utility-scale renewable energy solar resources to a total of 115 MW.
“We are proud to be working with the Air Force by providing large-scale solar to help ensure energy security now and in the future,” says Mary Kipp, EPE’s president and CEO. “As a recognized leader in the implementation and expansion of utility-scale solar energy, we hope this collaboration with the Air Force, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission and everyone involved will lead to additional projects with organizations who share our goal of fostering affordable, sustainable energy in our region.”
M+W Energy, which recently constructed EPE’s popular community solar project in east El Paso, Texas, will also be constructing the HAFB solar facility. The new project is expected to be operational in the third quarter of 2018.
“We are pleased to once again work with EPE to help bring more clean energy to the region while employing more than 90 local workers to build this solar facility over the course of construction,” says Jim Brown, president of M+W Energy Inc.
The solar facility will be located on a 42-acre site within HAFB in New Mexico. According to EPE, the new facility will utilize almost 56,000 thin-film modules and will generate enough clean energy to power more than 1,700 homes annually.
Photo courtesy of EPE