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MCLB launches new solar farms
BARSTOW • The Marine Corps Logistics Base in Barstow recently unveiled two solar panel farms — a project that should save the base an estimated $4 million over the next two decades.
The panels join a handful of renewable energy projects at the base, including the massive windmill installed in 2009. The projects also fall in line with the Department of Defense’s move toward more sustainable practices with similar projects popping up in installations across the nation.
“From where we sit, the Department of Defense ... we’re all on board with embracing what is green not only so we can be good stewards to taxpayers and gain efficiency on energy consumption, but also for our planet,” said MCLB Commander Col. Michael Scalise. “These projects — this is the wave of the future and we want to be part of it.”
The project is funded through a power-purchasing agreement with New-Jersey based SunDurance Energy, meaning no upfront cost to the base. SunDurance installed the panels and is responsible for the maintenance while selling the electricity to the base for a reduced price.
The new farms should produce roughly 8 percent of the base’s energy needs, providing electricity to the base at 7 cents a kilowatt hour instead of the 12 cents the base currently pays.
The panels made use of two new technologies that should maximize the equipment’s energy harnessing potential, according to Todd Martin with SunDurance Energy. One is a tracking system that monitors the sun and adjusts the panels to face the direction with the most sunlight. The panels also boast a high efficiency factor of 98.3 percent.
In all, the farms should produce 2.7 million kilowatt hours each year.