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Fort Bliss signs $120M agreement for DoD’s largest solar project

Apr. 8, 2013 - 06:08PM   |  
The Army announced the start of a new solar project at Fort Bliss, Texas. The new facility at Fort Bliss will provide 20-megawatts of power. Pictured here, a photovoltaic solar facility provides power to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
The Army announced the start of a new solar project at Fort Bliss, Texas. The new facility at Fort Bliss will provide 20-megawatts of power. Pictured here, a photovoltaic solar facility provides power to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (U.S. Army)
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The Army is moving ahead with plans to build a 20-megawatt solar field at Fort Bliss, Texas, which it says is the largest solar project in the Defense Department.

The $120 million project, announced Friday and slated to be completed in 2015, will be financed through an agreement with El Paso Electric. The company will build the field in exchange for Fort Bliss’ agreement to purchase the resulting power at a set price.

Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard, commander of Fort Bliss, said the project will provide about 14 percent of the energy needed to run the facility and will bring the facility closer to its goal of using only the electricity it produces by the end of 2018.

The project is Fort Bliss’ third solar project. The post previously announced plans to install 13.4 megawatts of solar panels on its on-base housing and already has a 1.4-megawatt solar field in place.

“No other installation has ever been able to do this,” Pittard said.

He said the installation is looking at a variety of energy sources, including wind, geothermal and waste-to-energy, to reach its goal of generating all of the electricity the base needs.

The Army has said one gigawatt — about 25 percent — of its energy will come from renewable sources by 2025.

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