U.S. Military Base Houses Massive Solar PV Facility

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Here’s a video that shows where I spent my afternoon: on a tour of the (currently) 2 megawatt solar photovoltaics facility at Fort Hunter Liggett in Central California, now the largest solar array on a military base in the U.S. – and soon to be a microgrid. As I took a tour with some colleagues, work was underway for Phase Two, which will add two more MW, and enough battery storage such that the only connection to the larger grid will be to enable the base to sell excess power to the local utility (Pacific Gas and Electric).

Everything about what I saw was impressive, except the price. Because the PV canopy serves dual purposes (power generation and a “garage” for many hundreds of enormous pieces of equipment) it’s 18 feet off the ground and built on piers that need to withstand the impact of a tank running into them. Those piers are a yard in diameter, and 10 feet into the ground – and we’re talking about ground that is super-compacted to withstand the punishment that such equipment will inflict as it moves in and out over the years. It’s about $8/watt installed.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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