The first of June marked the start of operations of a new 30 MW solar project at Fort Benning, near Columbus, Georgia, USA. A project of Georgia Power, the US Army, the Army Office of Energy Initiatives (OEI), the General Services Administration and the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), the facility is the first of five on-base military solar projects currently being developed by Georgia Power in co-ordination with the Army and the Department of the Navy (DON).
"Since we first broke ground a year ago, this site has been transformed into a state-of-the-art solar facility that will deliver clean, reliable and affordable energy to our customers for years to come," said Norrie McKenzie, vice president of renewable development for Georgia Power at the event. "We look forward to seeing the rest of our military solar projects come online within the next year."
Georgia Power built, owns and operates the facility with power delivered to the state's electric grid at or below the company's avoided cost, which is the anticipated amount it would cost the company to generate comparable energy from other sources. The 200-plus acre site uses nearly 134 000 PV panels and is estimated to represent a $75 million investment at the installation. It will enable the Army to meet critical energy and security goals.
In addition to this project, Georgia Power continues to add solar to its generation portfolio through programmes designed to prevent upward pressure on customer rates. In co-ordination with the Georgia PSC, thousands of new solar panels are being installed across Georgia as part of the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay projects with the DON; at Forts Benning, Gordon and Stewart with the Army; and through the competitive Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI). Most recently, Georgia Power proposed 525 MW of new renewable generation by 2019 and new demonstration projects to study wind and solar generation opportunities as part of its 2016 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), currently under review by the Georgia PSC.