Acciona Solar Power and Clark Energy Group have won the US$ 2 billion solar energy plant for the US Army. The facility will be built at the Army's Fort Irwin complex in California's Mojave Desert, with the US Army Corps of Engineers as the client.
The first phase of the scheme will see a 500 MW of generation capacity - equivalent to the consumption of about 100000 US households - installed at five sites around the base. These will use both photovoltaic and concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies.
The solar plants will be built over a long timescale. The initial phase is due for completion in 2014, and this will see one site developed to the point where it can meet all of Fort Irwin's energy requirements. The rest of the installations will be brought on-line gradually up to 2022.
According to Acciona, production capacity could be doubled to 1 GW at a later stage if required. The company also said the construction phase would generate some 4000 new direct jobs.
Construction of the solar power plant is part of a federal mandate to the Army to reduce its energy consumption by -30% by 2015, compared to 2003. It is also required to use renewable sources for 25% of its energy needs by 2025.Fort Irwin garrison commander, Colonel Jim Chevalier said, "The plant is the largest solar project in the state and it illustrates the commitment of Fort Irwin and the Army to incorporate environmental stewardship at all levels of operations."