Air Force signs deal for 10-megawatt solar array at Robins

By WAYNE CRENSHAW | The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph | Published: July 24, 2014

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — The Air Force has inked a deal with a company that plans to build a 50-acre solar array at Robins Air Force Base.

New Generation Power signed a 20-year agreement to lease unused property for the array, which will produce 10 megawatts of electricity, according to a base release. The company has already signed an agreement with Georgia Power to purchase the electricity produced.

James Willingham, 78th Civil Engineer Group deputy director, said he expects construction will begin by September and it should be operational by January. It will be constructed on base property next to Ga. 247 just south of the Museum of Aviation.

“It will look cool from the highway,” he said.

Although the base will not be directly purchasing the solar power, Willingham said it will count toward the base’s alternative energy mandates because it will be produced on the base.

He said money from the lease payments will be used to further the base’s renewable energy efforts. The amount of the lease payment will be based on the energy produced. Willingham said he isn’t sure what that will end up being, but it will be significant.

“It will be enough to sustain several follow-on energy conservation projects,” he said.

According to Willingham, it will also help Georgia Power meet state requirements that it use more renewable energy.

Willingham said 10 megawatts would be enough to provide about an eight of the base’s total power consumption.

New Generation Power is paying the total cost of the construction, Willingham said, so the only cost to the base is providing the land that it isn’t using anyway.

An array of solar panels, seen Feb. 13, 2009, supplies energy for necessities at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif.


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