Eglin AFB solar field hits milestone
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Partners at Gulf Power celebrated a milestone Thursday, March 23, when the large-scale solar complex at Eglin Air Force Base hit the halfway point of installing more than 375,000 photovoltaic solar panels at the military installation that will soon bring energy from the sun to thousands of Northwest Florida residents.
Since January, more than 170,000 thousand panels have been installed at the 240-acre complex, that is expected to be complete within the next five to six weeks. Workers have installed an average of 12-15,000 panels daily at the military site that spans nearly 200 football fields.
"We're now at the half-way point of installing panels in just three short months,” said Jeff Rogers, Gulf Power spokesperson. “We hope to be live and online by the middle of the summer.”
Ground was broken in November 2016 on the project, and is the largest solar project in terms of megawatts for the U.S. Air Force worldwide. The solar field is expected to start producing 30 megawatts of energy, or nearly enough energy to power 4,500 homes in Okaloosa County for a year, later this summer.
The Eglin large-scale solar complex is just one of three military installations under construction by Gulf Power and its third-party developer, Coronal Energy, powered by Panasonic. The projects will support the Department of Defense’s commitment to renewable energy and help further diversify Gulf Power’s energy portfolio and support the mission to provide safe, affordable and reliable environmentally responsible energy for its Northwest Florida customers.
The two other construction projects are taking place at Naval Air Station Pensacola’s Saufley Field and NAS Whiting Field’s Holley Outlying Field, and all three combined will have approximately 1.5 million solar panels capable of generating up to 120 megawatts of electricity, enough energy to power nearly 18,000 homes annually.
"The main impact for Northwest Florida is that 18,000 homes will be able to be powered by these solar rays,” added Rogers. “And greater than that, it speaks to our philosophy of a balanced energy mix. What that is, is an all-of-the above approach: the cleaner than ever coal, natural gas, wind and now solar.”
Energy produced by the projects will serve Gulf Power customers across Northwest Florida and were approved by the Florida Public Service Commission in April 2015. Together, these facilities will be among the largest photovoltaic arrays in Florida and have the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 139,000 tons annually. Combined, this will be one of the largest solar projects east of the Mississippi.
Eglin Air Force Base
Gulf Power is an investor-owned energy provider with all of its common stock owned by Atlanta-based Southern Company. Gulf Power serves more than 447,000 customers in eight counties throughout Northwest Florida. The company’s mission is to safely provide exceptional customer value by delivering reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electricity while strengthening our communities. Visit online at MyGulfPower.com or on the company’s Facebook page. News information can be found at GulfPowerNews.com.
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