SunPower Corp. has broken ground on a 28 MW solar photovoltaic project at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, Calif.
The company expects the project to create about 150 jobs at peak of construction and, once complete, be the U.S. Air Force’s largest behind-the-meter solar power system. The project will provide an estimated 54,500 MWh of energy annually, meeting about 35% of the base’s total energy needs. It will also contribute to the entire U.S. Air Force’s goal of meeting 25% of its electricity demand with renewables.
“A solar project that is grid-connected to the base enables us to meet our electric demand with renewable energy and increase our energy security,” says Ken Domako, chief of portfolio optimization at Vandenberg Air Force Base. “We look forward to increasing the Air Force’s energy independence with competitively priced, dependable solar from SunPower.”
SunPower says the project will be installed on land that has gone unused since 2007, just outside the gates of Vandenberg where Air Force housing once stood. The base will buy energy generated by the plant under a power purchase agreement (PPA), providing Vandenberg with competitive, fixed electricity rates over the next 25 years. The Air Force will retain all environmental credits associated with the system.
“The Air Force has an aggressive target to meet that requires full energy assurance for key missions,” says Dan Gerdes, Air Force Civil Engineer Center rates and renewables division chief. “By diversifying our energy mix at Vandenberg to include SunPower’s high-efficiency solar technology, we’re confident we’ll have the electrons we need, when we need them, creating long-term value for our operations.”
“SunPower is pleased to offer a cost-competitive renewable energy solution to the U.S. Air Force, which will provide increasing economic and environmental value to the Vandenberg Air Force Base for 25 years,” adds Nam Nguyen, SunPower executive vice president. “We congratulate the Air Force for its commitment to renewable energy.”