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Monday, April 22nd, 2024

Edwards Air Force Base gains new solar facility in largest DoD private-public collaboration with Terra-Gen

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The largest private-public collaboration with the Department of Defense (DoD) to date yielded a new solar facility on the northwest corner of Edwards Air Force Base last week, built in collaboration with Terra-Gen LLC as part of the Edwards Solar Enhance Use Lease Project.

It’s a unique land management agreement that will benefit the 412th Test Wing through nearly 2 million solar panels capable of producing up to 1,300 MW of power. Based on the California Independent System Operator grid, the solar array is the largest project of its kind for the U.S. Air Force and, under current estimates, could displace more than 320,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually.

This is also part of an ongoing project to modernize Air Force infrastructure and facilities through investments in climate-ready and resilient air and space installations while reducing reliance on carbon energy sources.

“The Edwards Air Force Base Solar Project is a triple win — it’s good for resilience, it’s good for energy security, and it’s good for the economy,” Andrew Mayock, White House federal chief sustainability officer. “We commend the U.S. Air Force for its leadership and for showing what’s possible when we invest in our nation’s clean energy future.”

For the Air Force, the project could provide cash rent consideration of up to $75.8 million over the course of a 35-year lease. It will help lower electricity costs for the base’s civilian workforce, as well as Edwards residents and surrounding communities, all while supporting the local power grid.

“The Air Force needs resiliency, reliability, and readiness with our energy systems,” explained Brig. Gen. William H. Kale III, Air Force Civil Engineer Center commander, said. “We must enhance mission assurance, and we can’t do it without energy assurance. I don’t care if it’s a small modular reactor that we put up in Alaska, geothermal in Wyoming, solar power in New Jersey, or wind power in Massachusetts.”

Terra-Gen and other private developers used the Enhanced Use Lease program to incrementally lease and develop property in exchange for cash or in-kind consideration at or above fair market value. Terra-Gen is a renewable energy developer. Its efforts were managed by the Air Force Civil Engineer Center.