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Largest military solar energy project in Northeast breaks ground on JB MDL

Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy Miranda A.A. Ballentine speaks at the ground breaking at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Dec. 21. The 16.5 megawatt solar energy project will be the largest military solar installation in the Northeast and will include more than 50,000 solar panels when it’s completed in 2017.

Miranda A.A. Ballentine, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and energy, speaks at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Dec. 21, 2016, during the ground breaking of a 16.5 megawatt solar energy project. The project will be the largest military solar installation in the Northeast and will include more than 50,000 solar panels when it’s completed in 2017. (Courtesy photo)

Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy Miranda A.A. Ballentine break ground at a new solar site with Adjutant General of New Jersey Brig. Gen. Michael Cunniff and local business leaders at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Dec. 21. The 16.5 megawatt solar energy project will be the largest military solar installation in the Northeast and will include more than 50,000 solar panels when it’s completed in 2017.

Miranda A.A. Ballentine, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and energy, breaks ground at a new solar site with Brig. Gen. Michael Cunniff, the adjutant general of New Jersey, and local business leaders at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Dec. 21, 2016. The 16.5-megawatt solar energy project will be the largest military solar installation in the Northeast and will include more than 50,000 solar panels when it’s completed in 2017. (Courtesy photo)

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. (AFNS) --

Miranda A.A. Ballentine, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and energy, and Brig. Gen. Michael Cunniff, the adjutant general of New Jersey, helped break ground on a 98-acre solar farm at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Dec. 21.

The 16.5-megawatt solar energy project will be the largest military solar installation in the Northeast and will include more than 50,000 solar panels when it’s completed in 2017.

“This is a great example of a cleaner, more resilient project, and we’re going to be doing more of them,” Ballentine said. “This project demonstrates the innovative pathways our Airmen and civilians are taking to strengthen mission assurance through energy assurance.” 

Once completed, the solar array will produce more than 21,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy every year – enough to power more than 2,500 homes.

“Solar power is one of the most efficient and affordable energy alternatives today,” Cunniff said. “Whether you're interested in solar power because of its economic or environment impact, during these times of budgetary constraints on the federal side and the state side, I think we can all agree this joint solar project could not happen at a greater time.“

Affiliates of Starwood Energy Group and Energy Management, Inc. developed the project, which is located on a capped landfill. The project is part of the Air Force’s Enhanced Use Lease program that helps create mutually beneficial commercial projects on Air Force land.

“New Jersey’s leadership in solar energy policies is creating a healthier environment, greater energy independence and more stable energy costs for the region,” said Jim Gordon, the EMI president.

More than 15,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions is expected to be reduced, an equivalent of 3,000 cars removed from the road.

“We are pleased to contribute to the renewable energy objectives of the United States military, and appreciate all of the support for this project from the Pentagon, Air Force Civil Engineer Center and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst,” said Brad Nordholm, the senior managing director and co-head of Starwood Energy.

True Green Capital and affiliates will build, own and operate the solar array in partnership with the Conti Group.

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