The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has selected Acciona Solar Power and the Clark Energy Group to develop a 500MW solar farm project at Fort Irwin military complex, located in the Mojave Desert, California.
The installations are being designed in a way to allow for the capacity to be increased to 1,000 MW at a later date. The project will involve concentrating solar power (CSP) and solar panels.
The Fort Irwin installations will be the U.S. Department of Defense’s biggest solar project. Currently, the 14 MW solar farm at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and the 2 MW installation at Fort Carson, Colorado are the Department of Defense’s largest solar power generating plants.
The solar farm is expected to produce approximately 1,000 gigawatt hours of electricity annually, far exceeding Fort Irwin’s 35 MW peak load. Fort Irwin is more than just a military base, but a town of 23,000 inhabitants made up of military personnel and civilians and their respective families. The project will sell electricity that is not used by the Fort Irwin complex to regional public utilities.
The facilities will be installed at five sites covering a total of 21 square miles. While construction will take place over a relatively long period of time, by 2014 the first site development should be sufficiently advanced to cover Fort Irwin’s total energy needs.
Acciona designs, develops and operates large-scale solar farms, including the largest concentrating solar power plant to be completed in the world since 1991, Nevada Solar One (64 MW) in Boulder City, Nevada.