The Los Angeles Air Force Base (AFB) is getting a $2.1 million solar photovoltaic retrofit, according to a report on Air Force Space Command.
The installation of the photovoltaic panels is the first stage in a three-part Energy Reduction Project will measurably cut the base’s energy consumption and money paid for energy cost each month, according to the report.
The solar panels are being installed on a new parking garage roof structure, 42-feet wide by 700-feet long, which will also help provide shade for parked cars during the heat of the day. This should also help reduce fuel consumption as drivers will no be sitting in their cars with the engine on as they wait for the air-conditioning to start, according to the project manager for the 61st Civil Engineer and Logistics Squadron (CELS), which did the installation.
The panels have been installed at a 5 degree tilt, giving them the maximum solar exposure and energy output in the late afternoon, just at the time when the base is experiencing peak demand due to higher temperatures and cooling needs.
The project has strategic as well as economic benefits, according to the project manager. In addition to reducing the amount of energy the base buys from its supplier, Southern California Edison, it also plays a part in helping the country reduce its dependence on foreign fuel supplies.
The CELS is currently working on other upgrades for the base, include upgrading the heating and air conditioning control systems used to provide occupant comfort within the buildings, and roof-top PV panels for even more energy and dollar savings.
The Air Force recently entered into a partnership with Fotowatio Renewable Ventures of San Francisco to lease part of the Edwards Air Force Base for a massive solar array with an estimated production capacity of up to 500 megawatts, one of the largest solar projects in the country. The Air Force is also implementing a series of measures expected to help reduce facility energy intensity 30 percent and potable water use 16 percent by 2015. The Army and Navy, meanwhile have been pushing to try to meet their renewable energy targets as well, with the Army awarding Honeywell a $4.6 million contract to test a new Micro-Grid power system at its Wheeler Air Base in Hawaii.