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Solar array to 'dim' Luke's electric bill

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Melanie Iannaggi
  • 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Members of the 56th Civil Engineer Squadron here are exploring ways to reduce the multi million dollar electric bill and go 'green' with plans to build one of the largest solar arrays in the Air Force by December 2011 at Luke Air Force Base.

2nd Lt. Christopher Warshaw, the 56th CES energy projects manager, said members of Luke AFB use more than 60 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year to support the mission.

"Costs continue to expand," he said. "Currently, the base spends more than $5 million on electricity and most of the electricity used is not generated in a 'green' way."

Solar energy was chosen because its abundant, Lieutenant Warshaw said.

"The 56th CES (officials) evaluated different solar generation technologies before settling on an option that could provide the maximum electrical generation with the least interference to the mission," he said. "After reviewing several opportunities across the base, the 116-acre parcel of land south of Super Sabre Street and west of Ammo Road was chosen as the future site for the solar array."

Once completed, the site will generate approximately 17 mega watts of direct current and will bring many advantages to Luke, Lieutenant Warshaw said.

"The Environmental Policy Act of 2005 states that by 2025, 25 percent of our energy must be from renewable sources," he said. "By constructing the solar array we will be generating close to 50 percent of our peak electrical demand and will be able to continue mission critical functions during widespread power outages. Also, by entering long-term contracts, the base should have stable electrical rates which would save millions of dollars."

Once the environmental analysis is completed, 56th CES crews will start clearing the site for construction, Lieutenant Warshaw said.