The Navy and Gulf Power signed a real estate outgrant last month to develop large-scale solar electric generating facilities at airfields used by two bases on the tip of the Florida Panhandle — Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola and NAS Whiting Field.
Gulf Power, a Southern Company subsidiary, will develop solar facilities with a total capacity of 117 megawatts of direct current on:
- 290 acres at Navy Outlying Landing Field (NOLF) Saufley in Pensacola — 65-megawatt capacity; and
- 300 acres at NOLF Holley in Navarre — 52-megawatt capacity.
Gulf Power’s third-party solar energy developer, Coronal Development Services, will build, own, operate and maintain the facilities. The utility will then acquire all of the energy and associated renewable energy credits generated by the projects to serve all of its customers, reported the Navy News Service.
The solar facilities are two of the eight renewable generation projects the Navy is supporting in the Southeast, contributing to nearly 30 percent of the secretary of the Navy’s goal to bring one gigawatt of renewable energy into production or procurement by the end of 2015, according to Rear Adm. Mary Jackson, commander of Navy Region Southeast.
“With 11 percent of all DOD flight hours flown out of NAS Whiting Field it is critical to maintain operations, regardless of the circumstances, and this agreement enables us to do so with greater reliability,” said Capt. Todd Bahlau, commanding officer of NAS Whiting Field.
Officials will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at NAS Pensacola in December and anticipate both solar facilities will be operational by December 2016.