Officials from the Navy and Mississippi Power broke ground Wednesday on a 4-megawatt direct current solar facility at Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport.
The facility, which will have roughly 13,000 panels over 23 acres, will provide enough electricity to supply the equivalent of 450 homes. Atlanta-based Hannah Solar is building the project at a cost of about $6 million. The array is scheduled to go online by the end of the year, according to the utility, a Southern Company subsidiary.
Prior to the groundbreaking, Dennis McGinn, assistant secretary for energy, installations and environment, presented the Navy Secretary’s Energy and Water Management Award, small shore category, to NCBC Gulfport for fiscal 2015. The award recognizes programs that slash energy or water consumption, according to a Navy press release.
“Partnerships, like the one between Mississippi Power and the Department of the Navy, make us stronger, enabling us to better serve and complete our mission. The efforts of NCBC to be effective managers of energy resources have been recognized at the highest levels of the Navy, and it is these efforts that make all of our bases more resilient and secure,” said McGinn.
NCBC Gulfport will receive in-kind consideration in the form of electrical infrastructure upgrades from Mississippi Power. Energy produced by the project will flow to the utility’s customers, including the naval facility.
The project is “a significant step forward in our efforts toward energy resiliency,” said Capt. Cheryl Hansen, commanding officer of NCBC Gulfport.
The Seabee base has installed several energy efficient technologies, including a solar power rooftop system and light-emitting diode parking and street lights, and participates in the Great Green Fleet. The Great Green Fleet is a year-long initiative highlighting the Navy’s efforts to transform its energy use to increase operational capability.