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Vandenberg Air Force Base's 28MW solar power plant commences operations

Published 11 April 2018

A 28MW solar photovoltaic system at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California, has started operations.

SunPower, the US Air Force Civil Engineer Center, Vandenberg Air Force Base, and Defense Logistics Agency Energy have marked the commencement of operations. The power generated by the system is expected to meet about 35 percent of the base's energy needs.

Vandenberg Air Force Base portfolio optimization chief Ken Domako said: "Access to reliable, resilient electricity to meet operational needs is a priority for the U.S. Air Force, and this solar project enables us to increase our own energy security at Vandenberg with competitively priced, dependable solar energy from SunPower.”

The base will purchase electricity under a 25-year power purchase agreement, providing Vandenberg with competitive, fixed electricity rates, and the Air Force will retain all of the associated environmental credits.

Alabama-headquartered Regions Bank provided the capital required for the solar project, eliminating the need for capital expenditures by the Air Force. Cornerstone Financial Advisors, LLC served as financial advisor to Regions Bank on this transaction.

The onsite system is the largest Air Force solar project in which the Air Force consumes all of the energy produced.

Air Force Civil Engineer Center rates and renewables division chief Dan Soto said: "The Air Force is committed to incorporating modern, clean energy technology like solar to provide diverse energy sources for our warfighter.

"With support on this project from solar technology innovator SunPower, we're improving energy resiliency, optimizing demand, and assuring supply at Vandenberg over the long term."

The project features SunPower Oasis power plant technology which is a fully-integrated, modular solar power block system engineered for rapid deployment and land use optimization. The Vandenberg system is generating solar electricity from land that has gone unused for over decade and is a former Air Force housing site.

The system is expected to provide 54,500MWh of energy annually – equivalent to offsetting carbon dioxide emissions from 8,600 cars for one year according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

SunPower commercial solar executive vice president Nam Nguyen said: "Our government customers clearly understand the environmental and economic value in transitioning from traditional to renewable energy sources, and SunPower is pleased to support the U.S. Air Force's progress with our high-performing solar technology.

"With a SunPower system designed to cost-effectively maximize power generation, Vandenberg can expect to see energy savings for decades."

Source: Company Press Release