Completed in December 2014 and dedicated February 11, 2015, the Fort Huachuca Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Project reflects the United States Army’s Office of Energy Initiatives (OEI) commitment to enhance mission effectiveness and to provide a sustained comprehensive strategy for energy security. The solar project supports the Army’s goal of deploying one gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy by 2025.
Located in Sierra Vista, Arizona, 75 Miles southeast of Tucson and 15 miles from the US-Mexico border, Fort Huachuca’s main and auxiliary installation properties cover 100,539 acres. The facility includes more than 5.5 million square feet of operational facilities, over 1,000 family housing units, and three schools. The installation supports more than 50 one-of-a-kind tenants and missions with national-level requirements; it operates the U.S. Army’s sixth busiest continental U.S. airfield.
With a groundbreaking for the project taking place in April 2014, the Solar PV Project at Fort Huachuca established a new and streamlined path for innovative partnering between the military, other federal agencies, private industry and the utility provider, Tucson Electric Power (TEP). TEP owns and operates the 17.2 megawatt (MW) array, one of the largest solar arrays on any U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) installation around the world. The array produces enough power to satisfy one-quarter of the base’s energy needs, equivalent to the annual electric usage of about 3,000 homes.
This system will offset approximately 58,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year; it will reduce other emissions associated with generating an equivalent amount of power with fossil fuels. E.ON Climate & Renewables managed design and construction of the array. More than 57,000 solar panels are supplying Fort Huachuca and the Southern Arizona grid with renewable energy; the system is linked to an existing TEP substation so that any excess output flows back into the company’s local grid for use by other customers.
O’C&L was retained to review and defend against claims asserted by a subcontractor for delay and disruption damages on the project. The $16M project involved the design, procurement, construction, installation, and commissioning of the 17.2 MW Direct Current (DC) renewable energy generation system, including all necessary ancillary photovoltaic equipment. This project was comprised of installation of the photovoltaic solar field over a site of approximately 72 acres, including the racking, modules, communications facilities, ancillary electrical work, inverters, transformers, roadways, and fencing.