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Enhanced Use Lease brings 30-MW solar energy project to Eglin AFB

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- As part of an Air Force Community Partnership and Energy Program initiative, the Air Force and Gulf Power Company signed an Enhanced Use Lease Nov. 24 to develop a 30-megawatt photovoltaic solar energy project on a 240-acre parcel of land on Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

The mutually beneficial lease agreement allows Gulf Power and their third-party developer, Coronal Development Services Group, to construct, own, operate and maintain a photovoltaic solar array on base property. In return for use of the land, Gulf Power will make infrastructure upgrades that promote energy resiliency for Eglin AFB as in-kind consideration.

“These important partnerships support our base and civic communities and efficiently use Air Force property to enable unfunded installation requirements that support our mission and sustainability,” said Jennifer Miller, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations.

Under the agreement, Eglin AFB can expect to receive financial consideration over the lifespan of the 37-year lease, Miller said.

In addition to funding future facility or infrastructure needs, the project also supports the Air Force’s goal of promoting renewable energy generation.

Miranda Ballentine, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and energy, said the Air Force is excited about these types of agreements because the service is always searching for innovative ways to partner with the community, especially in the energy domain.

“This important partnership with Gulf Power helps us strengthen relationships with our local communities, and this particular EUL enhances our buying power for infrastructure while helping Gulf Power provide renewable energy for the community,” she said.

The new system will generate over 60,000 MW-hours of electricity per year, and the power generated from the solar array will transmit to a nearby Gulf Power substation to be purchased and then sold by Gulf Power to retail customers. 

It will also generate more than $1 million in net present value for the Air Force, and 100 percent of that will be reinvested in renewable facility energy or energy conservation measures at Eglin.

“Even though Eglin isn’t receiving the power directly, this project will help diversify the power going to the civilian electric grid,” she said. “In return, we are going to receive infrastructure upgrades that will be reinvested into our energy programs and improve our energy resiliency, which is, first and foremost, our highest focus area for facility energy.”

The Air Force has completed 13 value-based real property transactions with considerations worth more than $258 million. Eglin AFB is the largest base in the Air Force and has five EUL projects on the installation including: the Emerald Breeze Hotel, the MidBay Bridge, the Water Reclamation Facility, the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport and the Photovoltaic Solar Array.