A new program will increase solar energy installations on military housing. Credit: Craig Miller Productions
DOE announced on September 7 its offer of a conditional commitment for a partial guarantee of a $344 million loan that will support Project SolarStrong, which will install up to 160,000 rooftop solar installations on as many as 124 military bases in up to 33 states. The project is expected to be a record expansion of residential rooftop solar power in the United States. Under the project, SolarCity Corporation will install, own, and operate the photovoltaic (PV) systems. SolarCity expects the project to fund approximately 750 construction jobs over five years and 28 full-time operating jobs. Many of the jobs are expected to be filled by U.S. veterans and military family members, who will be recruited, trained, and employed to install, operate, and maintain the PV systems.
The project, which could create up to 371 megawatts of new solar capacity, includes the installation of residential rooftop PV systems on existing privatized military family residences and other privatized buildings, such as community centers, administrative offices, maintenance buildings, and storage warehouses. The project will provide low-cost renewable electricity to privatized military housing. It is expected to avoid more than 250,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. SolarStrong will have the added benefit of helping the Department of Defense, the single-largest energy consumer in the United States, secure its energy needs from domestic renewable sources that are independent from the utility grid, at no additional cost to taxpayers. DOD has a stated goal that 25% of all energy consumed by 2025 shall be supplied by renewable sources.
Project SolarStrong will be rolled out over five years, starting with a four-megawatt installation at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, with construction now underway. SolarStrong is expected to sell electricity produced from the installations. DOE's Loan Programs Office has issued loans, loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling nearly $40 billion to support more than 40 clean energy projects across the United States. See the DOE press release and the Loan Programs website .