SunPower Plans 13-MW Solar Plant on Naval Station

SunPower Corp. announced that the company has begun designs for a 13.78-MW (DC) solar PV power system at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California and intends to break ground next month. SunPower’s high-efficiency solar technology will generate the equivalent of more than 30 percent of China Lake’s annual energy load, helping to reduce costs by an estimated $13 million over the next 20 years. Because the Navy is buying electricity under a power purchase agreement (PPA), the system requires no initial out-of-pocket expenses, and will deliver increased energy independence as well as reliable, emission-free solar power beginning at the end of next year.

The installation will be the government’s first solar power plant financed by a 20-year Federal solar PPA using the 10USC 2922a authority which is relevant to contracts for energy or fuel for military installations.

Under the agreement, SunPower will design, build, operate and maintain the solar power system which will utilize the company’s high-efficiency solar panels that are supported by a 25-year warranty. An affiliate of Metropolitan Life (MetLife) will be the owner of the plant that will be leased to a SunPower affiliate. The Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake will buy the electricity at a rate that is currently below the retail utility rate, providing the Navy with a long-term hedge against rising power prices with no initial capital investment. The 20-year PPA will also allow the Navy to secure electricity at up to 30 percent below the rate available through the more traditional 10-year PPA.

“A 20-year PPA resulted in a significantly lower rate to the Navy over the life of the system,” said Karen Butterfield, SunPower’s director of federal programs. “With more than a decade of experience working with the federal government and the most efficient solar technology available today, SunPower is confident in guaranteeing the performance of this system over the entire contract period. We are also proud to supply SunPower solar panels that are compliant with the Buy American Act.”

The installation at China Lake will feature the SunPower Oasis Power Plant product, a fully integrated, modular solar power block that is engineered to rapidly and cost-effectively deploy utility-scale solar projects while optimizing land use. Each power block integrates the SunPower T0 Tracker with the maximum efficiency SunPower E19 / 425 Solar Panel, pre-manufactured system cabling and other advanced features.

“MetLife recognizes the benefits of being an investment partner in projects like China Lake,” said Jeetu Balchandani, a director in MetLife’s Investments Department. “This project enables MetLife to further our commitment to supporting efforts that truly drive sustainability while aligning with our high quality investment philosophy. We are pleased to work with SunPower and the Navy on this important endeavor.”

SunPower has worked with federal agencies since 1999, resulting in the installation of more than 25 megawatts of solar power systems at government facilities, including solar power plants at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, Pearl Harbor, Ft. Dix, Coronado Island and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Listen to more in-depth conversations on Solar Builder's YouTube channel

Our most popular series include:

Power Forward! | A collaboration with BayWa r.e. to discuss higher level industry topics.
The Buzz | Where we give our 2 cents per kWh on the residential solar market.
The Pitch | Discussions with solar manufacturers about their new technology and ideas.

Comments are closed here.