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Here Comes The Sun

Here Comes The Sun

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Printer Friendly E-mail This ArticleText bigger | smallerBookmark and Share...Add News Feed to...What is an RSS feed? Story PhotosFriday, June 26, 2009 �|� 1 Comment [ View ]Here comes the sun / Hill Air Force Base activates 1,400 solar panelsBy Mitch ShawStandard-Examiner Davis BureauHILL AIR FORCE BASE -- The switch was flipped on more than 1,400 solar panels Thursday morning at Hill Air Force Base, creating enough energy to power 25 homes for an entire year.The solar panels are part of a new ground-based photovoltaic array system constructed in a field on the west side of the base.Construction on the area and installation of the panels began in January, but the system just began providing energy to the base this week.The project is the largest ground-based stationary solar array system in Utah.The panels don't power any particular part of the base, but the energy they produce flows through a 12,000-volt transmission line directly into the base's power grid."Basically what happens is, the power these cells create goes right back into the base's energy grid," said Dave Abbott, base utility manager."So it's not like we are powering one building or one part of the base in particular.

It's just giving us more energy that we can use all over the base."The panels are capable of generating about 230 kilowatts of energy, with room to expand to 1,000 kilowatts."This is the start of something important for Hill Air Force Base," said Col.

Patrick Higby."As a military commander, the concept of energy security is big -- we harness the sun in the sky.

The environmental benefits coincide directly with energy independence."Although the new panels provide for only approximately 1 percent of the base's power needs, the project provides an example to other military installations, Higby said."Obviously, most military bases have pretty substantial energy demands," he said.

"What we have here is a pretty good benchmark for others to look at and, hopefully, follow."The Hill project is part of a multimillion-dollar federal Department of Energy program."This is really the sign of things to come with green energy and Hill Air Force Base," said Harry Briesmaster, director of the 75th Civil Engineers Group at Hill."Green energy is a huge priority for us."Barbara Fisher, 75th Air Base Wing Environmental Public Affairs spokeswoman, said the base also contributes to Rocky Mountain Power's renewable energy efforts by purchasing certificates for renewable energy sources, such as wind power from windmills.

Rocky Mountain Power the buys renewable energy on Hill's behalf to equal its purchase.Hill supports 750,000 kilowatt-hours of Blue Sky renewable energy each month.Over a year's time, Hill's renewable energy purchase will avoid 9,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, creating annual environmental benefits equivalent to driving 19.2 million fewer miles or planting 3,535 acres of trees.
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