We all owe a debt of gratitude to past and present military personnel who defend our freedoms. The solar energy industry has found various ways in which to say thanks, including providing cost-effective solar-powered electricity for veterans and current military members who are home from deployment and more.
In New Jersey, for instance, the Adopt-A-Solar-Panel program can benefit military families in a couple of ways. First, veterans are given the opportunity to sell solar panels; when they do, they are able to be rewarded with commissions of an above-average amount. In addition to that, organizations and companies can allow a portion of the money they pay for new solar installations to go toward providing free solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems to organizations which benefit the military, such as the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
In a recent release, the Adopt-A-Solar-Panel Program was introduced as a way to help veterans garner sizeable sales commissions for each organized program sale and as a way to provide clean energy to non-profit organizations by linking them with sponsors.
Military Base Installations
The United States military is also aggressively pursuing partnerships that encourage greater use of clean energy. There is a billion dollar effort underway to add solar panels to 120,000 housing units that are privately managed housing for use by the U.S. military. A federal loan guarantee worth hundreds of millions fell through in 2011, but the developer and a solar-savvy bank got together to provide funding for this huge solar project for use by the military with a combination of debt and equity.
These privately managed military projects will be able to qualify for 30% tax incentive credit which applies through the end of 2016. Combine that incentive with the fact that PV modules have experienced a drop in prices in the last few years and we have an entirely new set of financial circumstances; thus, making it possible for the military to proceed with ambitious plans for going green.
The original plan that called for generating 371 megawatts of solar power from a total of 160,000 PV installations on military bases situated in 33 different states has been downsized, but the effort still qualifies as the largest single rooftop solar project in the U.S.
San Fernando-Santa Clarita Valley Habitat for Heroes
An offshoot of Habitat for Humanity, which is a nationwide organization, the San Fernando-Santa Clarita Valley Habitat for Heroes has announced recently that they will team up with solar installers in California to provide solar PV arrays for veterans’ homes at no charge. The current plan is to build 80 brand new homes beginning in spring 2013, all of which will be powered with solar energy.
The program will also allow qualified veterans the opportunity to get a drastically reduced rate on a new California solar installation on a home they already own. Thanks to the program, one family has been able to afford the purchase of a system which would have otherwise cost them about $23,000; they are now well equipped to reduce their previous $300 monthly energy costs.
Naval Weapons Station Goes Solar
The largest solar installation used by the Navy has been installed at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, which is located approximately 120 miles from Los Angeles. About 30% of the station’s annual electricity needs are being provided by a new PV power plant which generates 13.78 megawatts of solar power.
This installation has the benefit of solar trackers, which ensure that the panels can track the sun and capture the maximum amount of electricity possible.
This power plant was financed through a 20-year term solar power purchase agreement (PPA). Neither upfront capital nor maintenance obligations were required by the Navy to secure this system which will provide electricity at up to 30% below the available rate through 10-year PPAs.