President Obama toured the 14 megawatt solar array at Nellis Air Force Base on Wednesday morning, May 27, 2009 with US Senator Harry Reid and Air Force Colonel Howard Belote. Nellis Air Force Base is home to the largest advanced air combat training mission in the world, the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center.
Nellis Air Force Base hosts this landmark 14 MW solar project, which is the largest solar photovoltaic project in the Western Hemisphere. North America’s biggest solar photovoltaic power plant covers 140 acres and provides over 14 megawatts of electricity; it is owned and operated by Renewable Ventures, a Fotowatio Company. “We are very proud that President Obama chose the Nellis Air Force Base solar installation to highlight the U.S.’s increasing commitment to renewable energy,” said Renewable Ventures CEO Matt Cheney.
“The President’s support of solar energy will help us realize our goal of deploying many more megawatts of solar this year and in the years ahead.” “It is an honor to have the President tour this magnificent photovoltaic array,” added Rafael Benjumea, CEO of Fotowatio. “His remarks underscore that the United States is poised to expand the use of photovoltaics.” This innovative project showcases a unique public-private sector partnership, which required minimal capital investment by the U.S. Air Force.
The funding and ownership of the USD 100 million system is truly innovative: Fotowatio financed, owns and operates the landmark solar energy system, selling power to Nellis Air Force Base at a guaranteed rate for the next 20 years, as well as selling Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to Nevada Power. The Nellis Air Force Base solar power system meets an average of 25% of the electricity requirements at the base, where 12,000 people live and work. The 14 MW solar array is comprised of a solar tracking system to maximize solar electrical generation by following the path of the sun.
This solar power plant places Nellis Air Force Base at the forefront of federally-mandated energy conservation and renewable energy initiatives. The solar power system reduces CO2 emissions by 24,000 t annually, equivalent to planting 260,000 trees or removing 185,000 cars from the roadways. The Nellis Air Force Base solar power system supports the proud traditions of the Air Force in helping lead the way to a better future.