NRG Solar Oasis LLC is building a 20-megawatt solar array on Air Force-owned property at a government manufacturing plant in Palmdale, Calif., after the energy developer signed an enhanced use lease (EUL) last month with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.
The 20-year deal allowed the partnership between NRG Energy and its subsidiary NRG Yield to install about 98,000 photovoltaic solar panels on 180 acres adjoining Air Force Plant 42; 160 acres of the project site are on Air Force-owned property, reported 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs. The solar plant will be among the largest single solar projects constructed on Air Force property.
The firm will sell the power it generates to public utilities in Southern California. The agreement includes two additional five-year options which, if exercised, would extend the partnership to 30 years. Lease revenues will help maintain the Air Force’s industrial plant properties.
The deal is the culmination of a two-year effort among multiple federal and local agencies to leverage underutilized Air Force property to boost the production of renewable energy, according to the story.
“The Air Force is pursuing innovative solutions by partnering with industry to develop renewable energy sources on underutilized land,” said Lt. Gen. John Thompson, commander of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. “Budgetary constraints are motivating Air Force installation and community partners to reevaluate the way we do business and seek alternatives. When leveraging installation and community resources, savings and economies of scale can be achieved,” Thompson said.
Plant 42 supports NASA operations and is home to several large contractors including Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The Air Force previously cleaned up the parcel used for the array as it previously contained a firing range and a sewage treatment plant.