Solar Energy Project Launched

Construction has started on a six-megawatt solar array at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. This is the most ambitious solar energy project in the academy’s history and is part of the academy leadership’s broader vision to generate 100 percent of the institution’s electricity needs via on-base renewable energy sources by 2015. The new array will occupy 30 acres on the academy’s southeast corner when it is complete in summer 2011. “It will cut our power from burning fossil fuels by 11 percent and, by the way, save us a half million dollars a year,” said Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, academy superintendent. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided the funding for the $18.3-million solar project, which is a partnership between the academy, Colorado Springs Utilities, and SunPower of San Jose, Calif. (USAFA report by John Van Winkle)