Largest U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System Begins Construction at Nellis Air Force Base
Construction on the largest solar photovoltaic system ever to be built in North America began
today at Nellis Air Force Base.
Spearheading the project is a team that includes the United States Air
Force, Nevada Power Company, MMA Renewable Ventures, LLC, a subsidiary of
Municipal Mortgage & Equity, LLC ("MuniMae"), and PowerLight Corp., a
subsidiary of SunPower Corporation.
solar energy system will generate in excess of 25 million
kilowatt-hours of clean electricity annually and supply more than 25
percent of the power used at the base. Occupying 140 acres of land leased
from the Air Force at the western edge of the base, this ground-mounted
solar system will employ an advanced tracking system, designed and deployed
by PowerLight, to follow the sun.
Approximately 70,000 solar panels and the patented PowerLight
PowerTracker will capture up to 30 percent more energy than an
equivalent ground-mounted fixed-tilt system. Rated at approximately 15
megawatts (MW), the array will generate the power of a rooftop solar system
with a rating of approximately 18 MW. The energy generated will support the
more than 12,000 military and civilians at Nellis who are responsible for
Air Force advanced combat training, tactics development and operational
MMA Renewable Ventures will finance, own and operate the landmark
system and sell the power to Nellis under the terms of a Power Purchase
"The best way to create U.S. energy security is to develop our
affordable, domestic resources," said United States Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid of Nevada. "Nevada and the United States have the technology and
natural resources to serve our growing power demand with clean, reliable
renewable energy. I congratulate the Air Force for their continued
leadership on clean power."
"The Nellis solar power plant is the start of the way ahead for future
DoD and community partnership," said Col. Michael Bartley, commander of the
99th Air Base Wing at Nellis. "The base will benefit from the energy
produced, the environment benefits from using clean solar energy, and we
may even test state-of-the-art security measures at the site. This is a
good thing for everyone."
"Nevada has a wealth of natural resources including an abundance of
sunshine. We are actively developing our solar power resource, adding to
our portfolio of renewable energy resources serving our customers," said
Walter Higgins, Chairman and CEO of Sierra Pacific Resources, the parent
company of Nevada Power
. "The Nellis solar system is our latest commitment
to a set of solar power projects. In total, Nevada Power will generate more
solar electricity per capita than any utility in the nation. The project
accelerates Nevada Power's compliance with our solar power goals six years
ahead of schedule."
"In addition to its sheer size and the Air Force's impressive
dedication to furthering renewable energy deployment, the Nellis project
demonstrates how a carefully crafted third-party finance solution can
effectively meet the needs of even the largest federal and municipal energy
consumers," said Matt Cheney, CEO of MMA Renewable Ventures
collaboration with our pioneering customer and partners, we have set a
precedent of success with the Nellis project that we look forward to
replicating at federal installations throughout the United States."
"As other organizations follow Nellis' lead, MMA Renewable Ventures is
very well positioned to leverage our industry-leading position in
sponsoring tax credit equity investment opportunities in arranging
innovative debt and equity financings for these projects," said Michael L.
Falcone, CEO and President of MuniMae, the parent company of MMA Renewable
"We congratulate the Air Force, Nevada Power, MMA Renewable Ventures,
the Nevada Public Utility Commission and the Nevada Governor's Office for
having the vision and working so diligently to create the largest solar
photovoltaic system in the nation," said Tom Werner, CEO of SunPower Corporation
. "Solar power is the fastest growing energy resource to help meet our escalating power demand, generating reliable, affordable power
without creating emissions or waste."
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