FORT IRWIN Fort Irwin is one step closer to housing the Army's largest solar power project.

The solar project will be divided up among five sites on the sprawling military base located in the Mojave Desert, with three of the sites to be built at the Goldstone Deep Space Complex, according to a press release.

Army officials announced the two renewable energy developers, Nevada-based Acciona Solar Power and Maryland-based Clark Enterprises, for the project Thursday.

The first phase of the solar power project, which was initially announced in October 2008 as an initiative of Army Secretary Pete Geren, will produce about 500 megawatts of renewable energy, according to Army officials. The Department of Defense is aiming for the completed project to generate 1,230 gigawatt hours of solar power electricity by 2022, which would power over 100,000 homes, according to energy use estimates by the Energy Information Administration, a federal group.

Acciona Spokesman Terry Page declined to say how many jobs construction or maintenance of the massive solar sites would create or when construction would begin.

The project will include two types of solar technology photovoltaic and solar thermal, Page said.

The energy generated from the solar sites will likely both power military activity on the fort and be put back in the grid, he said.

On Friday, commanding general of Fort Irwin Brig. Gen. Robert Abrams participated in a roundtable discussion at the Pentagon on Fort Irwin's role in promoting renewable energy practices within the Army.

The Army must still conduct an environmental impact report before beginning construction on the project, said Fort Irwin Spokesman Ken Drylie.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4122 or elee@desertdispatch.com