On October 24, 2007, Captain Mick Gleason threw the switch that turned on the photovoltaic (PV) carports at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at California’s China Lake. It is the first of five solar energy projects designed to save money and to reduce the Navy’s dependency on traditional sources of energy.

The 124-kilowatt photovoltaic carport project, located in the parking lots of the Combined Bachelor’s Housing and the Paradise Community Center, is estimated to reduce energy consumption by approximately 228,160 kilowatt-hours per year, resulting in approximately $56,000 savings annually. In addition, it will provide shade for vehicles.

“China Lake is a perfect place for alternative energy,” Gleason said. “It has 360 days of sunshine.”

Future projects include a 200-kW PV array on the North Range, a 30-kW solar carport at the Police Department/Fire Station, a 71-kW solar carport at Michelson Lab’s east parking lot and a 60-kW solar carport at Parking Lot 3 at Armitage Field.

The military is one of the highest energy users, said Mark Suacci, president of E-Village Solar. But, he noted, it also is the leader in developing alternative energy sources.

The Energy Policy Act 2005 requires the base to increase renewable energy capabilities by 3 percent from 2007 to 2009, 5 percent from 2010 to 2012 and 7.5 percent from 2013 and beyond. In addition, President Bush signed Executive Order 13423 in 2007, which mandates a 30 percent reduction of energy intensity by 2015.

The Department of the Navy Energy Program Office is funding the projects via the Energy Conservation Incentive Program.  EC