Solar City and Balfour Beatty Communities announced plans to provide up to 13.2 megawatts of solar energy on 4,700 military homes at Balfour Beatty-managed residential communities at Fort Bliss, Texas, and the adjacent White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) in New Mexico. The project is an equipment lease arrangement, primarily financed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which supports the U.S. Army’s program to reduce energy consumption at all installations to ‘Net Zero’.
The project is the first and largest phase of a 5-year plan to build more than $1 billion in solar energy systems for up to 120,000 military homes throughout the United States is the first and largest phase of a 5-year plan. The project is dubbed Solar Strong by Solar City, a leader in public and private solar energy projects around the country. Construction is expected to begin in January. Solar City will initially add more than 100 installation, electrical, and maintenance jobs locally.
Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy & Environment) said this project by the Army would lead the way for other public/private renewable energy projects around the nation. Major General Dana Pittard, Commanding General of the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss noted that this is the largest solar housing project in the Army.
Balfour Beatty Communities, LLC manages these housing communities for the Army at Ft. Bliss and White Sands. It also manages housing at Ft. Carson in Colorado, which is also part to the renewable energy program. Balfour Beatty provides development, financing, renovation, operation and management services as part of comprehensive military housing privatization projects for the U.S. Departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The company is committed to sustainable business practices and is a leader in the military housing Public-Private Partnership industry, currently providing services to members of the U.S. military and their families residing at 48 military communities in 24 states. Chris Williams, President of Balfour Beatty Communities said his company and this project is a significant step towards energy security.
The Defense Department is currently the largest energy consumer in the United States. It has a worldwide goal of reducing energy consumption to zero in a project called “Net Zero”. The DOD expects the Fort Bliss installation will produce as much energy as it uses while sending no waste to landfills and maximizing water reuse. The projects will also help the military meet Department of Defense goals to have 25 percent of its energy requirements met by renewable energy by 2025.
The Department of Defense strongly believes that renewable energy is an extremely important for national security. The Department’s position is that the United States military and defense installations must be self-sufficient when it comes to energy so that no disruption in energy can disrupt our national defense. Net Zero was developed as part of that strategy. The Solar City/Balfour Beatty project helps the DOD achieve that goal.