US Army is all-in on solar power + energy storage
The US Army will add a 1 megawatt energy storage system to accompany its 10-megawatt SunPower-built solar PV system which recently broke ground at the Redstone Arsenal US army post in Alabama.
US-based solar company SunPower revealed on Wednesday that the US Army will be adding a 1 MW (megawatt) energy storage system to a 10 MW solar project being developed by SunPower at the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama — a project which will drive employment of up to 200 jobs at the peak of construction. The project was jointly developed by the US Army Office of Energy Initiatives, Redstone Arsenal’s Directorate of Public Works, and the US Army Corps of Engineers Huntsville Center’s Energy Division, and its development is being financed by a power purchase agreement (PPA) which opens the way for the US Army to buy 100% of the electricity generated by the project without having to pay for the construction, maintenance, or operation of the project. Specifically, the Army will purchase 18,000 MWh of electricity from the project at a cost equal to or less than Redstone Arsenal’s current and projected utility rates.
“This project reinforces the Army’s commitment to advancing adoption of reliable, cost-effective, home-grown renewable energy at Redstone Arsenal,” said Col. Thomas Holliday, Garrison Commander, Redstone Arsenal. “We’re continually looking for ways to grow our capability and reduce our cost to provide the nation with a more efficient defense.”
The project was first announced over a year ago, in June of 2016, though it is unclear from publicly available information why there appears to have been such an extended delay. The project’s design is classified as a micro-grid ready, which allows that it could be connected to an on-site micro-grid in the future, and provide greater energy security to Redstone Arsenal’s energy security.
“Solar is cost-competitive with traditional energy sources today, and is helping the U.S. military reduce operational costs,” added Nam Nguyen, SunPower executive vice president. “We commend Redstone Arsenal for managing its significant energy demand with abundant, renewable solar power. The high performance solar and storage technology we are installing for the agency will substantially increase the value of energy produced by the solar plant over the long term.”