Air Force Goes Solar with Largest U.S. Military Solar Installation Yet


SunEdison announces it has completed a 16.4 MW solar power plant for Davis-Monathan Air Force Base. The largest solar installation in the Department of Defense is expected to save the base $500,000 a year.



Solar firm SunEdison (NYSE: SUNE) and MIC Solar Energy Holdings, a subsidiary of Macquarie Infrastructure Company LLC (NYSE:MIC), today announced the completion of a 16.4 MW PV solar power plant. Located outside Tucson, Arizona on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB), the plant is the largest solar energy facility at any U.S. Department of Defense installation. It’s expected to reduce the Air Force’s utility costs by $500,000 annually for the next 25 years.


As the largest consumer of energy in the federal government, the Air Force has the goal of getting 25% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025. That’s aligned with the overall goal for the U.S. Department of Defense, which is the world’s largest energy consumer. Solar power plays a vital roal in that plan.


“This project was very rewarding for our team because we are helping save our fellow taxpayers’ money,” said Bob Powell, president of North America, SunEdison. “The Air Force, like other branches of the armed forces, is a perfect candidate for solar power because they have high electricity demands and often have large plots of underutilized land. We can help them use that land to generate significant cost savings that can be reinvested into our country.”


A public/private alliance made this project possible, with a number of organizations and stakeholders: Davis-Monthan AFB, SunEdison, The North American Development Bank (NADB), MIC Solar Energy Holdings, LLC, Chevron Energy Solutions, and local officials. MIC Solar Energy Holdings, which specializes in infrastructure investments, owns the project. The SunEdison Renewable Operation Center (ROC), which provides global 24/7 asset management, monitoring, and reporting services, will manage plant operations through a contract with MIC Solar Energy Holdings.


Col. Kevin Blanchard, Commander of Davis-Monthan AFB said, “This project is the result of a symbiotic relationship between private and public organization. By coming together and combining our expertise we’ve successfully completed a project that many initially doubted was possible. The results speak for themselves, everyone’s hard work has paid off in a way that is helping us reduce expenses and be good stewards of the environment.”


“When SunEdison first proposed building this system at Davis-Monthan AFB, a project of that size was unheard of. We knew it was ambitious but also visionary,” said David G. Hutchens, President and Chief Operating Officer of Tucson Electric Power. “Through diligence and expertise, they made the system work for all parties. This is a very successful example of the possibilities of public/private partnerships.”  


The plant is located on two plots of previously underutilized land totaling 170 acres. It is designed to provide 35% of the base’s electricity requirements and is expected to generate enough electricity each year to power 5,173 houses. The Davis-Monthan AFB solar power plant uses SunEdison Silvantis solar PV modules. SunEdison polysilicon and wafers are the foundation for Silvantis modules.