Academy Turns on Solar Power Array

Officials with the Air Force Academy and Colorado power companies on Monday dedicated the academy’s new six-megawatt solar energy array. “At the strategic level, a lot of us talk about getting serious about the renewable energy business. We did it.” said Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michael Gould. The array will provide about 11 percent of the academy’s power—around 12,000 megawatt hours per year, or enough to power more than 1,200 average homes, said academy officials. The array is expected to save the academy about $1 million per year in energy costs over its 25-year design lifetime, and it moves the institution closer to its objective of generating 100 percent of its electricity needs on base by 2020. Colorado Springs Utilities won the contract for the array; SunPower Corp. oversaw its construction, which began last November. (Colorado Springs report by Don Branum)