Luke Air Force Base and the state’s largest electric utility provider, Arizona Public Service, have partnered on a new solar power plant to be built on 100 acres of land located on the Base. Construction of the 10-megawatt facility – part of the APS AZ Sun Program – is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year.
APS is leasing the land from Luke AFB as part of an energy Enhanced Use Lease. Energy EULs are a partnership between the Air Force and public entities to encourage the development of renewable energy – helping the Air Force to save money while meeting congressionally established Air Force goals. APS will lease the land for 30 years from Luke AFB for $6 million.
Through the APS AZ Sun Program, the utility is investing in photovoltaic power plants across Arizona. The project at Luke AFB will join eight other AZ Sun projects that are already online or in some stage of development, totaling 170 MW of solar energy for Arizona – enough to power more than 42,000 APS customers.
“Our partnership with Luke Air Force Base for this project is great for Arizona,” said Tammy McLeod, APS Vice President of Resource Management. “The solar plant will be highly visible and will set a great example of Arizona’s solar leadership for people from all over the world who live, work and train on Base. Plus, APS is proud to support the Air Force and bring more solar energy to our customers.”
The solar plant will generate enough energy to power 2,500 Arizona homes, and will prevent the emission of 12,000-15,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year, according to Robert Worley, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron installation management flight chief.
“It continues a great partnership that we have with APS,” Worley said.
More than 200 local jobs will be created during the construction of the plant, which is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year. The facility will be operational, serving APS customers by summer 2015.