Navy will use solar energy for 14 Navy and Marine installations

Government spending on renewable energy is on an upswing in alignment with the Clean Power Plan, and the Navy is set to follow suit.

According to a news statement on August 20, a new solar facility started construction on the Naval Air Station North Island in California as fulfillment of the agreement set by the Navy and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Western Area Power Administration last year. The 210-megawatt installation is the largest purchase by any federal agency or organization in line with the use of renewable energy.

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power earned the privilege of installing the solar facility through its Mesquite Solar 3 project. The massive initiative involves the purchase of more than 650,000 solar panels, which is estimated to provide for about a third of the Navy’s energy requirements. The new solar energy site will be able to power 14 installations in the Navy and Marine Corps.

“The collaboration on Mesquite Solar 3 is a triumph of innovative problem solving, and will help to increase the (Navy’s) energy security by diversifying our power portfolio and improving energy efficiency,” according to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. The monumental project could lead the Navy to saving as much as $90 million throughout the existence of the solar facility.

Meanwhile, Sempra president and CEO Patti Wagner emphasized the impact of the project on the Navy and its surrounding populace. “The development of Mesquite Solar 3 will continue to stimulate the local economy in the region and would not have been possible without the strong support of neighboring communities, regulators and local, state and federal officials,” Wagner said.

Mesquite Solar 3 is part of the Navy’s objective to be aligned with the Renewable Portfolio Standard of California, in which Mabus has committed to make one gigawatt of solar energy available in the Navy’s facilities before the year ends.

Groundbreaking ceremonies have already been completed in Camp Lejeune (North Carolina) and Kings Bay (Georgia), with the construction estimated to finish before the end of 2016.

[Photo courtesy of Ken Lund on Flickr]